Following its closure in 1981, the old Twickenham Lido pool site had been left neglected and unused, becoming an overgrown eyesore as the years passed. Following years of controversy surrounding the site, regeneration plans led to the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames appointing idverde UK to transform the site into a stunning public garden overlooking the River Thames.
The deadline for completion was strict, with the gardens needing to be ready in time for the summer’s Olympic and Diamond Jubilee festivities.
By working closely with the client and design team the project has reinstated the site as an important riverside asset in the heart of Twickenham securing the long-term future of the site after years of controversy and proposals for development.
Our Role and Challenge
Alistair Bayford, Regional Operations Director, commented on the challenges of this project:
“The completion of this project posed a number of challenges for id verde UK, with an immovable completion date and the wettest April and May on record making conditions difficult. These problems were managed by increasing the resources available when weather conditions were better, working over weekends and extending working hours. The site had both limited accessibility and limited storage space, with a single road also servicing Twickenham High Street’s shops and businesses. To overcome these challenges, deliveries needed to be carefully timed to minimise disruption whilst keeping the site supplied with materials so as not to halt works.”
Clearance works began in February 2012 requiring the removal a number of trees, site-wide demolitions and infilling of the former pool before work could begin on the new landscaping. Over 1,000sqm of Yorkstone paving has been laid out across the site, creating new routes to explore the gardens and providing an expansive new town square and events space. Keen to retain the sense of history surrounding the site, new railings were fabricated to match the original railings which enclosed the site at the height of its glory.
The scheme celebrates the site’s history by retaining the original diving board and reinstating the swimming pool edge and lanes which are set within in a rectangular lawn and public square. The installation of bespoke ornamental street furniture and lighting scheme using tree uplighters and path lights has combined old and new design influences to create a space which transitions seamlessly from day to night.
Architectural hornbeam hedges with a wave profile enclose the perimeter of the lawn with floriferous herbaceous planting. The existing mature hornbeam trees were retained and 16 table top plane trees were planted to create a shaded viewing area overlooking the River Thames and Eel Pie Island.
On 23rd June 2012, Princess Alexandra was shown around the project by Lord True, leader of Richmond Council, as part of a 1930s themed celebration attended by around 200 guests. Princess Alexandra planted a black poplar tree and unveiled a ceremonial plaque to mark the opening of the gardens for all to enjoy.