Valentines Park

  • Industry :
    Client :
    London Borough of Redbridge
    Project Location :
    Ilford, Essex

The Challenges

An ingrained decline threatened to significantly reduce both the historic value of the park, and its social and recreational use. There was a considerable problem of social exclusion caused by crime, perceived lack of safety, and access difficulties.

Issues related to the decaying resource required urgent attention to prevent irreversible decline of buildings and garden structures that included Grade II* and Grade II grottos, a large formal canal, dovecot, an exquisite ‘alcove seat’ and extensive walled gardens of considerable historic significance.

Other serious detractions included polluted water courses, dangerous structures / areas closed on safety grounds, and defunct facilities. Combined these placed the park close to the tipping point of becoming a ‘no-go’ area.


To reverse the decline:

Use of archaeology trial trenching to inform restoration / design

Restoration techniques of grottos using specialist materials / techniques such as glasswork, shell and flint

Restoration of 120m long brick lined formal canal. Included special construction methodology for dewatering, removal of contaminated sediment, waterproofing using natural materials (clay) and localised replacement of 10,000 bricks without collapse of fragile structures. Brickwork is constructed without mortar joints with sides raked. This allows for thermal movement.

Installation of water supply ‘switching’ system to use high and low flows from surface water runoff from local roads to feed water features; cut off sewers; circulation pumps to restore cascades.

SUDs for car park runoff.

Bishop’s Walk mosaic: the commission of a 3m diameter floor mosaic from a specialist craftsman. The dramatic design depicts aspects of the park’s history, working in tandem with other interpretation material.