In April the Heritage Lottery Fund announced major grants to restore Barking Park and Eastbury Manor House (where tradition runs, the gunpowder Plot was hatched). Both are in the LB Of Barking & Dagenham.
Sue Bowers, HLP's Manager in London, said: "For a long time, Barking has not received its fair share of heritage lottery funding because of low application levels; so I am absolutely delighted that we are able to support two such worthy schemes.
"Barking Park is such an important green space, but desperately needs to be restored and made more inviting for local people to get the most out of it; and Eastbury Manor is a gem - a Tudor house with a wealth of history to be unlocked and shared."
The Park has been pledged funds of £3.25m and an additional £245,000 to help work up the final plans to transform the space for local residents, whilst Eastbury Manor is in line for almost £1 million to open it up for many more visitors.
Works at the Park will include redeveloping the Lido area, improving the entrances, creating new paths and cycleways, restoring the lake and reinstating historic features. Lighting and security will be upgraded, and there will be information boards throughout to highlight the park's past. A Project Manager will taken on for four years, and there will be training for all staff, volunteers and the Friends Group.
Allan Aubrey, Head of Leisure Arts and Olympics for Barking & Dagenham commented; "Barking & Dagenham has been trying to secure such a significant financial boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a number of years, so this is an extremely welcome award."
Having previously received £989,000 from HLF to help restore the house and grounds (that work was completed in 2004), this latest funding for Eastbury Manor - a Stage One Pass of £862,000 and additional Development Funding of £107,000 - will ensure its long-term sustainability as a visitor attraction. The full amount will be rolled out once plans are further developed and a second application approved by HLF.
The Grade 1 listed house is nationally important and dates from 1566. Surrounded by gardens, it lies in the middle of the Becontree housing estate. Currently unused rooms will be greatly improved and brought back into use, a permanent exhibition space will be developed, historic out-buildings recreated, and signage installed throughout to bring the Manor's past to life for everyone.
Kirstie Bradburn, Head of Heritage for Barking & Dagenham said; 'We are absolutely thrilled to receive this grant for Eastbury; the money will help us to interpret the history of Eastbury and bring the stories of its past residents to life'.