Nottingham City Council is celebrating after receiving the news that its £1.7m bid to develop Victoria Embankment Memorial Gardens has been successful.
£1.1m has been awarded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund and will be used to improve facilities, create a visitor centre and jobs on the park. Match funding has come from The Transforming Cities Fund, The War Memorials Trust and Nottingham City Council.
The announcement to return the park to its former glory marks the culmination of a development journey which has included two rounds of public consultation. The views of park users, veteran groups and the Memorial Gardens Association about how the gardens and facilities could be developed have identified a strong desire to see the area restored and improved.
The first stages of work to develop designs and plans have been completed which means the delivery of the project can begin. This will deliver the following:
- Restoring the war Memorial which was unveiled in 1927
- Restoring Queen Victoria’s Statue (dating from 1903) which has been in the gardens since 1953 (previously it sat in the Old Market Square)
- Restoring the pond and fountains
- Improving paths and access
- Re-planting original flower beds
- Installing new furniture
- Creation of a visitor centre and toilets
- Creation of jobs
- Development of a World War 2 Roll of Honours
There will be an ongoing activity plan for the gardens that will also set out the restoration work and activities. This includes historical research and links to both the physical and virtual Roll of Honours. The council will also work with various veteran organisations to help provide work experience and a pathway to help gain permanent employment. It is also proposed to create a Park Team Leader post and two placements per year over five years. Engagement with the current and future park users will ensure that a legacy can be passed down from generation to generation.
Councillor Rosemary Healy, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Cleansing Services (Including Parks and Open Spaces), said: “Following the successful use of Lottery funding for Highfields Park, I am delighted to see further investment in Nottingham’s open and green spaces. Victoria Embankment Memorial Gardens are of great importance and have been an asset to Nottingham for nearly 100 years. In 2019 we completed the WW1 Memorial and this additional funding will allow future generations to re-discover the site as a place for contemplation, relaxation and recreation within the local community.”
Frances Moreton, Director, War Memorials Trust said, “War memorials are touchstones to our past. Preserving them maintains the link between those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and later generations who benefit from the freedoms for which they fought. War memorials also remind us of the full cost of war so we can hopefully learn the lessons which help us avoid conflict, and further loss, in future. War Memorials Trust is pleased to assist this project to improve the condition of the war memorial. If anyone knows of any other war memorials in need of help, please contact us or, if you believe in the importance of our work, support us as we are a charity so can only give further grants if we raise enough money.”