Historic Leasowes Park restored
An exciting project to restore an historic Halesowen Park to its former glory has been completed ahead of schedule.
The 18th century historic park has been restored
The Leasowes is a 57-hectare public park containing the remains of one of the most important and influential landscapes of the 18th century.
The garden at The Leasowes was designed by the poet William Shenstone beginning in 1743 and continuing until his death in 1763.
Shenstone created his garden from farmland; forming a diverse landscape of wooded valleys, open grassland, lakes and streams.
Leasowes Park was designed by William Shenstone
Grade 1 historic landscape
Today, The Leasowes is of major historic significance ranking in importance with landscapes such as Blenheim and Stowe, and being listed as Grade 1 on the English Heritage 'Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England'.
The complex restoration of William Shenstone's 18th century lansdscape began in May 2008 and was scheduled to be completed in February 2009, but has been completed several weeks early.
With no original drawings, archive material, including Shenstone’s own paintings, extensive archaeological investigations and designs have all helped to ensure the restoration is as close to the original design as possible.
18th century woodland
Other work to the site includes restored walkways, new paths to improve access and additional planting to help return the woodland to its historic 1740s layout.
The project at the Grade 1 listed park has received £1.3 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and has seen the 18th century Beechwater dam and cascade as well as pools and cascades at Virgil’s Grove brought back to life.
Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for the environment and culture said:
Cascades are restored
"I am absolutely thrilled that the restoration of The Leasowes has completed ahead of schedule.
"It is a true credit to all involved that the work has not only been completed early, but also that a great deal of care has gone in to ensuring our modern engineering expertise has been sympathetic to William Shenstone’s original design.
"This enchanting, historic park is on our doorstep and I hope it is treasured and enjoyed for many years to come."
Marianne Diller, chair of the Friends of Leasowes, added: "We are very pleased the work at Leasowes is complete and after seeing the result of many months of hard work by all concerned, I know the restoration creates another feature to what is already a unique place.
"We hope it will attract more visitors and raise awareness of the importance of this park."
Shenstone created The Leasowes from farmland between 1743 and 1763. Rather than following the fashionable geometric layout of the time, he adopted a new and radical approach, creating a landscape that both followed and enhanced the natural features of the Leasowes.
In doing so he is recognised as creating a garden, which represents the very beginning of the picturesque English Landscape Movement.
last updated: 15/01/2009 at 11:17