Our restoration: the story so far

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At work in Hanley Park

Welcome to part 1 of our spring 2017 restoration update

It's been a busy 12 months since we were granted permission to start on the £6m restoration of Hanley Park last February.


We're keenly aware that from day to day it can appear little restoration work is actually taking place. However, detailed planning has continued apace behind the scenes, and we are now arriving at the 'business end' of the project.

Some very visible work has taken place already in Cauldon Grounds. Restoration will begin to impact on the wider park this summer.

Read on to find out more about the work in progress. In part two, we'll be sharing more of what to expect between now and 2018.


The story so far...

Impression of restored ironwork

Our restoration project has been broken down into three parts. The first of these is now under way in Cauldon Grounds and around the park entrances and will be complete in the summer.


Regular visitors may have noticed the gradual disappearance of several wrought iron gates in recent months. Many of the terracotta or brick piers that support them have also shortened slightly!

The heritage ironwork (like the griffin from our Stoke Road gates, pictured) has been removed for careful restoration.

Brickwork at the entrances and park boundaries is being repointed and repaired using traditional lime mortar. In some cases, broken or missing decorative features are being re-made in brand new terracotta. Pieces salvaged over the years have been stored safely, but only a few are fit for re-use. 


After work is complete, our entrances will welcome and inspire our 993,000 annual visitors as brightly as they welcomed our Victorian forebears 120 years ago.

Here be dragons...

Fountain works underway

Also set for completion before the autumn is the restoration of the 123-year old Hammersley Fountain - to full working order!

So far, the fountain has been painstakingly but partially dismantled. The basin and lower portion of the central structure remain in place.


New terracotta is also being created. Older parts will be cleaned carefully using a light brick acid, to ensure a matching finish. Fresh pipework and a modern pump will be added this spring, returning gentle cascades to the fountain for the first time in many decades.

Some readers may recall our appeal in the press for photographs of the four dragons that once graced the fountains. We received several generous responses. These contributions will enable such ornate Victorian beasts to grace the park once more.

While the originals were created locally by Copeland Pottery (probably in stoneware) and given a pale fawn glaze, it seems likely that they were not robust enough to stand the test of time or weather.

We're now planning to re-create the dragons in a more robust material so our 21st century dragons can enjoy a longer life than their predecessors.

A final word from our Friends...

Carole Ware of Friends of Hanley Park

We invited Carole Ware, Chair of the Friends of Hanley Park, to write a little of her hopes ahead of project's completion in 2018, and to share something of of the picture now forming in her mind's eye:

"My hope for the future of Hanley Park is simple: that it becomes a space that is valued by the local community. Being greedy (!) I also want as wide an audience as possible so would like people from everywhere to enjoy the park."

"I know it is not possible to please everyone, but I hope we will have achieved our ambition to make the park somewhere to build good memories for our visitors."

"Right from the beginning of the project I wanted to safeguard the future of the park by ensuring its economic survival. Hopefully when the project is finished next year we will see an increase in visitor numbers and they will feel we did a good job."

We have been working on the project for a number of years now and I can't wait for the completion date to come round. I'll be booking a space to drink the odd cup of coffee on the veranda of the main pavilion and watching the world go by, thinking of all the many decisions we made and reflecting on a job well done."

Find out more about the project

To find out more about the Hanley Park Restoration project please contact park liaison officers Claire Studman (07584 174465) or Tom Pine (07787 005946), or email hanleypark@stoke.gov.uk

For information about commercial opportunities in the park, contact Ruth Stanway, commercial manager, on 07584 174479 or using the email address above.


The Hanley Park restoration project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund through their Parks for People programme, thanks to National Lottery players.

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