November 2014 – News Letter – Part 2

. . . / Continued from Part 1

4 – Abberley Hall, Worcestershire

Abberley Hall was first brought to my attention in 2011 by one of the Trustees of the Abberley Hall Foundation, who told me that they had a fine example of a Pulham garden, and were putting together an application for a restoration grant from the Country House Foundation.

I found a note relating to Abberley Hall in my database that reads:

‘Watercourse and cascades on hillside, to pool’,

. . but the source of this was the English Heritage database, which records the dates as 1867-80s.   As it was not recorded in the booklet published by James 2 c1877, however, I would suggest that the 1880s are a more reliable suggestion.   The archive research involved local NADFAS – National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies – volunteers, and it was as a result of this work that NADFAS decided to add ‘Pulham Rock Gardens’ to their portfolio of research categories.

141106 - Abberley Hall - Lower Pool WIP - AB

Fig 6 – During and after the Pulhamite restoration in the Lower Pool at Abberley Hal   (Photos by Alan Bishop)

 141107 - Abberley Hall - Pool from Terrace - MA DSC_0129

Fig 7 – Water Garden from Terrace at Abberley Hall   (Photo by Max Askew)

Fig 6 shows the Lower Pool in the Water Garden during and after restoration, and Fig 7 shows the Water Garden, viewed from the balustraded Terrace.   Fig 8 shows the Pulhamite ‘cliffs’ facing the wall supporting the terrace, where the mouth of a grotto can be seen in the centre of the wall.   The interior of this tufa-lined grotto – where Alan Bishop is seen at work in Fig 9 – is thought to have possibly pre-dated the Pulhams’ work, although this cannot be confirmed.

141108 - Abberley Hall - Pulhamite Bank to Terrace

Fig 8 – Pulhamite ‘Cliffs’, with Grotto, below the Balustraded Terrace, at Abberley Hall   (Photo by Max Askew)

141109 - Alan Bishop at work in the Grotto at Abberley Hall

Fig 9 – Alan Bishop at work in the Grotto beneath the Terrace at Abberley Hall

Further restorations to the terrace etc are still in progress.

5 – The Preston Parks, Lancashire

James Pulham and Son’s work in the Preston Parks was discussed in my Site of the Month’ feature for December 2013.  Thanks to a grant of nearly half of the £5 mil from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2008, Moor Park, Avenham Park and Miller Park have been the subject of major restoration works over the past few years, and are now nearing completion.   Water had not been flowing over the Pulhamite Cascade in Miller Park for some years, but is now back in working order, thanks again to the work of Alan Bishop.   Special coloured lighting has been arranged beneath the cascade to show it at its best after dark, but these are not yet quite ready, and the surrounding planting has also to be completed, so I hope to have some pictures in my next News Letter.

 141110 - Miller Park Cascade and Archway

Fig 10 – Restoration Completed on the Pulhamite Cascade n Miller Park, Preston, showing The Upper Cascade: the Middle Cascade and Alan Bishop under the main Rock Archway   (Photos provided by Alan Bishop)

6 – The Swiss Garden, Old Warden, Bedfordshire

The Pulhams’ work at the Swiss Garden at Old Warden, in Bedfordshire, is discussed in Chapter 10 of Rock Landscapes: The Pulham Legacy, so there is no need for further descriptions here, except to say that a major £2.8 mil restoration project has just been completed, and these charming and unique gardens are once more open to the public.   A lot of the main features were actually created prior to 1876, when Joseph Shuttleworth engaged James Pulham and Son to work on the central Fernery, and to add some Pulhamite adornments along some of the banks to the lakes, and pathways around the gardens.   Some of these features suffered from the ravages of time, and were included in the restoration programme.   Alan Bishop and Associates were also responsible for some earlier restoration work here during the 1990s, but the contractors for the project that has just been completed were Simon Swann Associates.

 141111 - Swiss Garden - Fernery

 Fig 11 – Restored Pulhamite tufa rock in the Fernery at Swiss Garden, showing the window in the Entrance Passage, and the Central Fernery itself

7 – Other Pulham Restoration Projects

The firm of Alan Bishop & Associates has been mentioned in connection with four of the above six projects, and he was also involved with work at the five sites listed below.   The references ‘RL’ relate to the Chapter in Rock Landscapes: The Pulham Legacy in which the site is discussed, and ‘SM’ refers to the date at which they featured as ‘Site of the Month’.

  • Buckingham Palace – 2009 RL-30
  • Friar Park, Henley-on-Thames – 2013 RL24
  • Mesnes Park, Wigan – 2002-13
  • Ross Hall Park, Glasgow – 2010 RL-17
  • Wotton Park, Nr Dorking, Surrey – 2011 SM-19 (December 2012)

Other major Pulham restoration projects that have taken place over recent years include:

  • Battersea Park, London – 1990s RL-06
  • Dunorlan Park, Tunbridge Wells – 2004-05 RL -05                       
  • Belle Vue Park, Newport, Wales – 2004-06   RL-20
  • Edgecombe Hall, Wandsworth, London – 2013

It is really a great pleasure to be able to report the evidence of such a wide appreciation of our Pulham Heritage, and long may these restoration and preservation projects continue.

More Pages on the Pulham Website

It occurred to me recently that there might still be a few people out there who have not yet read my book, and part of the reason for this could be that there were not many specific references to the principal people and places featured in the book within the Google Search Engines.

Look for the name of Pulham or the title of the book, and your searches would be successful, and the links are also there for the articles – including all the ‘Site of the Month’ features – that I have added to the website over the years.   But search for any evidence of work done by James Pulham and Son at Merrow Grange, for example, and you would not have found it, even though there is a whole Chapter about it in the book.   Well, you can now, because I have now created a new page for each of the 44 Chapters, with tagged references to all the principal people and places involved.   If you enter the same search criteria now, you will be directed immediately to Chapter 25.   All the Chapters are listed on the CONTENTS page, which can be reached directly from this link, or from the Main Menu by going to ‘About / The Book / CONTENTS’’

 141112 - Link to Contents Page

141113 - Button - ContentsAlternatively, you can click on the short-cut ‘Contents’ Button on the Home Page, and that will also take you straight there.

This means that The Pulham Legacy Website now contains more than 125 pages of articles, site reviews and information – and rising!

‘PL1’ – Your Key to A Very Special Offer

1-5-01-0 - Book Title, Price etc

Readers of these News Letters will know that I always close by reminding them that copies of my book are available at the very Special Discounted Price of £25 via my website – i.e. £21 plus £4 p & p.   That is equivalent to a net saving of nearly 30% on the R.R.P. of £35!

  1. Just go to the Product Page on the Antique Collectors Club website
  2. Click on the ‘+’ symbol below the book details to confirm your purchase, and then click the ‘Checkout’ Button
  3. Enter the code ‘PL1’ in the ‘Promotion Code’ box at the top of that page, and click on the ‘Apply’ button.   This updates your invoice with the 25% ‘Promotion Discount’, bringing the net price of the book down to £26.25.   Click on the ‘Proceed to Checkout’ button.
  4. Click on Create Account.   This will entitle you to a further ‘Customer Loyalty Discount’ of 20%, bringing the Net Price of the book down from £26.25 to £21.
  5. Proceed to Checkout.   £4 P&P will be added for UK customers.   Overseas rates will vary.

Now that we are approaching the Christmas Season of Good Will, remember that this book will make:

‘A Wonderful Book to Own,

and the Perfect Present for

a Garden-Loving Friend’

But don’t just take my word for it – if you are still not convinced, read what the Professional Reviewers had to say:

‘This is a wonderful book . . .’                           London Landscapes

‘Excellent . . A brilliant piece of work.’           Amateur Gardening

‘Magnificent hardback . . .’                    Hertfordshire Countryside

‘Wonderfully illustrated book . . .’                         Follies Magazine

 Happy Reading!   I send you our Season’s Greetings, and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Yours Sincerely,


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