by SARAH JACKSON
Gardens trusts and other interested organisations had a preview in October of Parks & Gardens UK (PAGUK), a new, national database and website on historic landscapes across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
By autumn 2008, PAGUK will contain basic records of some 6,000 historic parks and gardens, with more detailed information on 500 sites. The records will be linked to a variety of images, including historical documents, maps, illustrations and photographs. There will also be profiles of many of the people linked with gardens, including designers, gardeners and nurserymen.
The database will for the first time bring together records from gardens trusts and organisations such as English Heritage, Cadw and Historic Scotland, together with new material from volunteers who are being encouraged to Set involved in historic garden research.
The London Parks & Gardens Trust and PAGUK project team are looking at ways in which information from the Trust's London Inventory of Historic Green Spaces can be incorporated into the database. As the London Inventory contains well over 2250 records, the process of transferring data to PAGUK may require a special volunteer team to be set up by the Trust.
The PAGUK database will be accessible via a website, www.parksandgardens.ac.uk, which will be used by garden visitors and tourists, as well by students of all ages, academic researchers, and professionals.
The website will feature a range educational materials and articles on topics such as historical styles and garden features, as well as providing links to other related websites.
Parks & Gardens UK is a three-year project run by Parks and Gardens Data Services, a company set up jointly by the Association of Gardens Trusts and the University of York. The project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.For more information about PAGUK, please see www.parksandgardens.ac.uk