Promenade Approach, Chiswick
Restoration of the gates
By the 1920s Chiswick hosted a growing working population who had moved to work in the industries developing in the area: Cherry Blossom Boot Polish Factory, Sanderson’s Wallpaper Factory and Fullers’ Brewery. Living in crowded conditions they needed open space and fresh air. In 1923 Chiswick District Council bought 200 acres of riverside land from the Duke of Devonshire as part of its plan to open up the southern tip of the parish. By 1925 a 2,000-ft long embankment and terraced promenade lined the loop of the river and sports grounds were under construction. To give the entrance a sense of grandeur and encourage civic pride, a set of grand iron gates were designed for Promenade Approach.
After the path was flooded in 1947, a flood barrier was formed from old wartime rubble which was placed over the road between the pump house and the now Riverside Drive. This cut the road off from the main area of the park and the gates were closed to allow pedestrian access only. In the 1980s the park went into decline, causing some of the recreational facilities to be demolished and others to fall into disrepair. In the last ten years the Dukes Meadows Trust has spearheaded the regeneration of the park, raising £1 million for restoration of its facilities.
As things stand, the gates have to be kept closed, being so heavily rusted that they have distorted and are potentially unsafe. The restoration will include works to the pintle and hinge bearing points; the straightening of the bent bar; the manufacture of new drop bolts and jockey wheels; the engineering of new lock boxes; cleaning, repainting and commissioning. HOLT is also supporting the restoration of the stonework beside the gate (of which the lettering is very fine) and of the brick piers (mainly removing the gloss varnish on the bricks). London Stone Conservation have been asked to quote for these two elements. Further, HOLT has encouraged Dukes Meadows Trust to look into a new surface for the promenade walk beyond – replacing damaged tarmac with a more attractive long lasting surface.