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Hall Place is a 16th century house standing on the banks of the River Cray. It is surrounded by 65 hectares of gardens that were opened to the public by the Duchess of Kent in 1952. The first map of the estate dates from 1768. What is now a formal garden was then called Bowling Green Mead. During the intervening years the landscape has continued to change dramatically with the loss of a number of buildings including a boathouse, pigeon house, dairy and mill.
Over 250,000 people visit the site of the Bexley Heritage Trust each year. A 2010 visitor survey stated that 90% of visitors to Hall Place come for the gardens. However, the survey also informed Hall Place that information about the gardens and their history was lacking, and therefore a disappointment. This project will respond to that visitor demand; revealing the story of the changing landscape.
This project represents a new partnership between Bexley Heritage Trust and University of the Arts London (UAL). In collaboration with Hall Place, UAL MA Narrative Environments students will research the stories that Hall Place Gardens have to tell. They will then design and install an interactive exhibition in Hall Place’s Halcot Gallery that will re-tell these stories through text, image, sound and physical space to make them accessible and engaging to a wide variety of audiences.
- Shibboleth Shechter, Lecturer, MA Narrative Environnements, Central Saint Martins
- Caroline Worthington, Chief Executive Bexley Heritage Trust