Take a walk down memory lane at High Elms

Published Friday, 14 December 2012

Celebrate over 150 years of fascinating local history when you visit the interactive exhibition at BEECHE.

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Lubbocks Landscape at High Elms project covers the history of the High Elms estate from 1808 until 1967 when the mansion was destroyed by a fire. A mural using oral history clips provided by previous residents of the House as well as descendents of John Lubbock - the first Baron Avebury who once lived at the grounds, has been installed in the visitors centre. Audio clips of the estate's current residents - insects and birds, along with a section on the internal workings of trees provide an insight into the natural life that can be found in High Elms' acres of countryside.  

"Thanks to the outstanding work of volunteers from Lubbocks Landscape at High Elms project and everyone else involved in the project, residents can now fully appreciate and understand the historical importance of the High Elms estate. We have a real hidden gem of national significance quietly hidden away in our own back yard which we should be really proud to celebrate. I would strongly encourage anybody with an interest in nature or local history to visit High Elms and perhaps become inspired to join one of our many 'Friends of the Parks' groups themselves," said Councillor Colin Smith, Executive Councillor for Environment.  

The project was awarded over £44,200 by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Sue Bowers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund London, said "A visit to High Elms has been transformed thanks to this project that has restored historic structures and created a variety of means to learn more about the estate and the Lubbock family through new recordings, information boards, published leaflets and a downloadable heritage trail."    

One of the fascinating oral history clips used in the mural has been provided by a descendent of John Lubbock, the first Baron Avebury - a distinguished scientist who inherited the estate in 1865. Eric Lubbock, fourth Baron Avebury and his son Lyulph have been involved from the beginning of the project - re-constructing plans of the former mansion house and providing numerous photographs. Another oral clip has been provided by Anne Peck - a resident at the estate in the 1950's.  

Visitors to the park are encouraged to go on one of the walking trails through the woodlands, formal gardens and wildflower meadows that form part of the 250 acre High Elms estate. Historical leaflets are available at the visitors centre, open at weekends.  

The project has been a large undertaking. 5 historical buildings have been restored and staff and volunteers have been trained to deliver guided walks through the grounds. Some of the volunteers came from the Friends of High Elms group - one of the borough's many Friends groups made up of local residents who wish to have a say in how their local parks are maintained, developed and used. Residents interested in becoming a member of a Friends group should go online www.bromley.gov.uk/parks or call the landscape helpdesk 020 8313 4471 for more information.  


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