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The People of Northernhay Gardens

Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund

Double Elephant Print Workshop recently began an exciting new project exploring the history behind Exeter’s Northernhay Gardens, the UK’s oldest public space.

“This project has brought the gardens to life for me. To be able to come here and be allowed this time to focus on something new is a real respite, and to work in an environment with people who have an understanding of what you are going through – I feel like I am being accepted for who I am, and that is unbelievably special.” – Print on Prescription participant.

The project: ‘The People of Northernhay Gardens’ concentrates on the heritage of this city centre park which celebrated its 400th year of public use in 2012. Funded primarily by a grant of £7,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), this project chiefly involves members of Double Elephant’s award winning Print on Prescription group for adults recovering from mental illness, who are using their research into the history of the gardens’ five Grade II listed statues and the men they depict to inspire their printmaking. The group has so far undertaken visits to The Royal Albert Memorial Museum, the Devon Heritage Centre, and most recently to National Trust property Killerton House. This last visit was a particularly success, as a number of the POP group have taken a particular interest in Victorian horticulturalist Harry Veitch, who played an important part in the landscaping of both Northernhay Gardens and the grounds at Killerton.

The work created will be exhibited in Exeter Phoenix’s Walkway Gallery and in the Studio at Killerton House towards the beginning of August. Printmaking workshops based around Victorian life will also be held for members of the public and school children.

Commenting on the grant award, HLF’s Head of South West, Nerys Watts, said: “Heritage is the story of who we are, so we were delighted to be able to support the People of Northernhay Gardens project, which will help present day members of Exeter’s community to better understand the city we see today by exploring and illustrating the stories of prominent people from the city’s past, throwing light on a key period in its development”

Handcrafted by Rock Kitchen Harris