Monthly Archives August 2017

‘Uncertain Prospects’

Uncertain prospects: public parks in the new age of austerity The Gardens Trust (2016) In July 2016, the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Select Committee announced a new inquiry into the state of public parks. The Gardens Trust submitted a memorandum, prepared by Dr. Katy Layton-Jones, who was then called as an expert witness to appear on behalf of the Trust. In November 2016, Uncertain Prospects was published, celebrating the parks renaissance which has been achieved since 1993, but warning of the desperate future many now face as a result of local authority spending cuts.  The effect of these varies widely between
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‘History of Public Park Funding and Management’

      History of Public Park Funding and Management (1820 – 2010) In 2015 Historic England commissioned Dr Katy Layton-Jones to provide an overview of past public park funding models, and their management as in looking for new funding solutions  to help us understand why funding issues have arisen. Her report shows a long history of funding problems, but also the important role of local authorities in developing, and often rescuing parks, and delivering public parks for all over 170 years. The new research report was been included as part of Historic England’s submission to the House of Commons Communities
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‘The Common Story’

Tooting Common Historical Research Project In early 2015 I was appointed Historical Consultant on ‘The Common Story’ project. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, ‘The Common Story’ is a historical research and toolkit project for Tooting Common. It is part of the Tooting Common Heritage Project,  which aims to explore, restore, conserve and enhance the cultural and natural heritage of Tooting Common. To this end, ‘The Common Story’ is working in partnership with local community groups to research the social, topographical, architectural, and environmental history of the Common. Research strands include: Dr. Johnson and his association with the Common, Tooting Bec Lido, historical biodiversity,
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‘National Review of Research Priorities for Parks’

This substantial review and the resulting report by Dr Katy Layton-Jones was commissioned by English Heritage and hosted by Park Roots CiC, Birkenhead Park, Wirral. The project brought together a range of consultees from Natural England, Green Space Scotland, GreenSpace, Historic Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund,  local authorities, CiCs, universities, and trusts. The final report informed the National Heritage Protection Plan (NHPP) in 2015. Download the report here Extract from the executive summary: ‘In the fields of urban planning and landscape design, there are few areas in which Britain has made so significant an international contribution than urban parks and public open
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Lancelot Capability Brown

‘Capability Brown: Landscapes in Line and Ink’ An online exhibition with Cambridge University Library, curated by Katy Layton-Jones Born to a yeoman farmer and estate steward in a small village in Northumberland, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (1716–1783) remains one of the most influential figures in British garden history. Brown’s vision was to have a dramatic effect, not only on the particular estates he shaped, but upon the perception and reception of British topography in general. His work can be seen in some of the finest country estates and his principles of comfort and elegance were to influence landscapes as diverse as
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‘Beyond the Metropolis’

Beyond the metropolis: the changing image of urban Britain, 1780-1880 Manchester University Press (2016). Dark satanic mills, cobbled streets, and cholera have become common shorthand for the nineteenth-century British town. Over the past century, historical reality has merged seamlessly with mythology, literature and caricature to create a dramatic, but utterly misleading representation of the urban past. Drawing on pictorial and ephemeral sources that shaped the popular image of British towns between 1780 and 1880, Beyond the Metropolis revises our understanding of urbanization, its representation and interpretation throughout the long nineteenth century. In contrast to myriad publications that address London exclusively, this book examines
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BBC Radio 4: The Matter of the North

The Art-Treasures Exhibition, 1857 Melvyn Bragg celebrates the achievements of Manchester, the original northern powerhouse. Its emblem is the bee, a symbol of work, cooperation and industry. It was from here that huge scientific, social and commercial changes would sweep the globe. Melvyn talks to Dr. Katy Layton-Jones about one of the country’s biggest and now largely forgotten art exhibitions which was held in Manchester – The Art Treasures exhibition of 1857. Visit programme website  
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BBC Radio 4: Making History

Tom Holland is joined by Professor Richard Drayton from Kings’ College London and Dr Sean Lang from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, to discuss a new project celebrating the 90th anniversary of the British Empire Exhibition of 1924. Dr Katy Layton-Jones has been working with local archivists and she opens the book on this forgotten event which attracted millions. But what is its historical significance? Was it a celebration of the British Empire or more of a marketing opportunity in the face of domestic opposition? Listen to the programme            
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