Public park to original designs of Thomas Mawson, amended by the Borough Surveyor and mostly laid out between 1908 and 1915. It is roughly an S-plan and comprises a total of 18.5 ha.
Reasons for Designation
This early C20 public park designed by Thomas Mawson, and re-drawn by the Borough Surveyor, is added to the Register at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Date: a good example of a public park laid out principally between 1908 and 1915;
* Landscaping: significant attention has been paid to the landscaping and enhancement of the natural topography to produce three main areas of differing character unified by a north-south axis;
* Degree of survival: the core of the original park remains substantially intact and very closely reflects its original design;
* Designer: Thomas Mawson is a renowned national figure and acknowledged as the founder of modern landscape architecture and design.
A new public park for Barrow in Furness was designed by Thomas Mawson in 1900. Part of the proposed park was fenced off in 1902 and opened as a public space, but it was not until 1907 that the council decided to proceed with the laying out of the park. The Borough Surveyor produced a new plan based on Mawson’s original design, which was largely implemented between 1908 and 1915 including: a lake, an upper and lower shelter, three bowling greens, a bandstand with seated terraces, tennis courts and a refreshment pavilion. The pre-existing Piel House was incorporated into the new park and provided accommodation for the head gardener and park keeper. In 1920 the First World War memorial was added as the focal point of the park, and in 1924 the boating lake was extended to the S and provided with a pair of bridges. In 1965 the bandstand was demolished. The park underwent restoration in 2002, when major work included the erection of a new bandstand to designs of the original, the replacement of the 1960s gates and piers at the inserted NW entrance with those based on an original (unbuilt) design by Mawson, and the restoration of the lower shelter. The park won the Landscape Institute’s Heritage and Conservation Award in 2007.
Thomas Hayton Mawson is a garden designer and town planner of national importance, who became the first President of the Institute of Landscape Architects, was a President of the Royal Town Planning Institute and an honorary member of the RIBA. More than 20 of his designed landscapes are included on the Register, one at Grade I and three others at Grade II*. His designs were site-led, each garden and landscape being subtly different from the others. Mawson is widely considered the founder of modern landscape architecture and garden design. As well undertaking private commissions Mawson took town planning and the design of public parks very seriously, writing 'Civic Art: Studies in Town Planning, Parks, Boulevards and Open Spaces' in 1911.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Barrow Park lies to the NW of the town centre of Barrow in Furness, bounded by Abbey Road, Park Drive, Greengate Street and Park Avenue to the NW, NE, SE and SW respectively. It is roughly an S-plan and comprises a total of 18.5 ha. It is bounded on the principal NW side by a red sandstone wall with double-chamfered copings, on the NE side by mid-C20 metal railings and property boundaries and on the SW side by similar railings and an earthen embankment. On the SE side the site is demarcated by an earthen bank set with Willow trees. The park partially occupies a low knoll, the top of which forms the centre point and from where the ground falls away to the W, S and E.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The original principal entrances to the park are situated at its NE corner off Abbey Road and at the NW and SW corners of Park Avenue. The Abbey Road entrance has C21 rusticated red sandstone piers with rectangular caps and ball finials, while the others have mid-C20 metal gates and posts. An entrance at the west end of Abbey Road is a C21 construction to an unbuilt Mawson design for one of the original principal gates; this has gate piers of alternating sandstone and ashlar with large ball finials, attached arches, also with ball finials, and curving, flanking walls. In the early C20 a new entrance was created from Park Drive immediately N of the boating lake.
The circular focal point of the original design stands at the highest part of the park on its W side and contains the centrally placed First World War memorial (listed at Grade II). The memorial is an imposing landmark in the form of a cenotaph in Portland Stone set upon a large circular platform, with railings between four flights of steps with piers and balustrades.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The park has a curvilinear design with a perimeter path creating an overall S-shaped structure. This is flanked to the outside by curvilinear lawns and beds which define the park boundaries; some have stone edging and all contain a variety of shrubs and trees. The circular focal point of the park, containing a war memorial, is situated at the highest point and is incorporated into the perimeter path on its SW side, from where the ground slopes down on all sides. The surrounding area is divided by curvilinear paths into eight informal lawned compartments, most with original irregularly shaped beds and stands of trees. In the NE corner of the park, Piel House and walled garden occupy one of the compartments. Piel House is of red brick with pitched, graduated slate roofs and has three bays, one gabled and the entrance bay with a porch supported to the front by ornate ashlar columns. To the E of the war memorial, the land slopes down steeply to level, lower lying ground, which forms a shallow semi circular bowl focussed on the bandstand. Descending the slope between the two is a broad, axial flight of steps composed of narrow red bricks with concrete edging and treads, flanked by linear flower beds and hedges. The flight of steps is interrupted by a wide terrace set at right angles to it with shrubberies to each end. Seating recesses and a square emplacement are incorporated to either side of the stairs and an Arts and Crafts inspired timber shelter with seating, bracketed eaves and timber braces occupies the more northerly of these emplacements; it has a half-hipped roof of clay tile with a heart and geometrical symbols to the half-hip.
Further to the E between the terrace and bandstand the layout is more formal with a geometric design of paths and terraces radiating out from the bandstand. The latter is executed in identical style to the shelter, and, set on a low wall of red sandstone, is surrounded by a path of red brick and a clipped hedge. This formal layout continues to the level ground SE of the bandstand, but here its design is more recreational in character: a path continues the axis of the flight of steps with a pair of bowling greens to the S with a former tennis ground beyond and to the N a former tennis court and putting green with a C21 pavilion cafe and children's play area to the N. This area terminates in a pair of bowling greens. Further to the E there is a large low lying curvilinear boating lake (comprising two distinct parts) with corresponding curvilinear perimeter paths. The N part retains the curvilinear western profile of Mawson's original, smaller lake design. A central island dividing the two parts is crossed by a curving path, which is also carried across narrow lake sections by a pair of concrete foot bridges with art deco parapets. To the N of the lake there is a timber boathouse with mock-timbering to the gable, a half-hipped building known as the old pals club and the second of the park's original shelters, the latter of identical design to the first. These buildings are set within curvilinear lawns and more formal flower beds.