The Lovely Garden Blog

Forgotton Spaces


Christmas is a good time to find space, in between family visits, to go and do something for yourself. We went to Somerset House in London to see the Forgotten Spaces exhibition. In small rooms, perhaps old stables, there were plans and exhibits set up to show how different areas of London, currently unloved or unused, could be used to good and positive effect. I loved the 51 Spires project, using the spires of London churches that have a useable workspace. These areas are to be offered to struggling artists and creators so that they can rent wonderful office space within the city. How inspiring (excuse the pu6282n) to work up in the church tower! Some of the projects on display were modest – good ideas for 'bee houses' underneath forgotten and draughty staircases. Some were really well thought through – community markets, vegetable growing areas, market gardens and new spaces for food festivals. All of the ideas put forward had the community at its heart and it's great to know that our designers and architects of the future are already thinking in this way; that the heart of communication ( a word very close to community – interesting eh?) is always at the forefront of their thinking.  My favourite scheme was the plan to re-introduce Atlantic Salmon to the River Wandle. My mum was brought up in South London and used to fish in the Wandle as a child. For many years, the river has been subjected to sewage and industrial outfall and can you believe that it was once an important breeding ground for Salmon, that was then caught and sold in London? Amazing. Well, the good news is that the sewage outfall has been moved and the industrial effluent cleaned up and it's hoped that salmon will return. The proposed salmon leap design is an area where the public can walk beside the river, watching, through a glass tunnel, where the salmon will leap and go on to spawn again. I think this is fantastic and I love regeneration on a grand scale. I know there will never be the money to do this properly, but if we could only clean up our rivers just a bit, and bring back the fish……. I know that domestic garden design is on a tiny scale, compared to these huge ideas, but when I sit on the train going to London and look at all those depressing back gardens – all with their own type of effluent chucked out of the back doors – I hope that this year will enable me to create at least some wonderful spaces that, at the moment, are forgotten.

Forgotten Spaces is Free to get in and will run until January 29th. The exhibition is open from 10-6 daily. Check the Somerset House website for more details. Fab cafe too!

This entry was posted on Friday, January 6th, 2012 at 8:40 am and is filed under Latest News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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