Thanet District Council and Friends of Ellington Park have appointed specialists Lost Art Limited to refurbish the 110-year-old MacFarlane bandstand in Ellington Park, Ramsgate.
The specialist heritage and building contractor has been responsible for the restoration, repair, relocation, re-creation and reinstatement of more than 25 historic bandstands throughout the UK.
Past work includes the historic bandstand in Alexandra Park, Windsor, which was built in 2016 to commemorate Her Majesty, The Queen’s 90th’s Birthday and to mark her becoming the UK’s longest serving monarch.
The bandstand in Ellington Park is an original Victorian bandstand built in the early 1900s. Research has shown it is a MacFarlane Company pattern 279. The MacFarlane Company was a notable producer of decorative ironwork, including bandstands, during the Late Victorian Period. It operated from Saracen Works foundry in Glasgow and sent its products around the world.
Cllr Steve Albon, Cabinet member for Operational Services, said: “We are excited to have a specialist team on board to undertake works on the bandstand. It’s such an iconic feature within Ellington Park and it being restored to its former glory is a major milestone in the park’s regeneration journey.”
All the new panels and cast works will be made in the foundry offsite, meaning the bandstand has been carefully removed, transported to the foundry and will be re-installed at the same location in Ellington Park. The historic paint colours will be analysed and recreated so the bandstand will be restored to its original colour scheme.
Alan Linfoot, a member of the Friends regeneration team said: “We were delighted to see Lost Art had copies of the original Macfarlane pattern books and understands the process which our bandstand will undergo.
“The passion and expertise of the team really inspired us when we met with them in February and we look forward to working with them. Lost Art was selected not only for its expertise in heritage bandstands but also because it cares about the communities where the bandstands are based.”
For other projects Lost Art has carried out community engagement, workshops and visits to the foundry. The restoration process will be documented for current and future park visitors.
Damian Liptrot, Lost Art said: “We are very proud of our history of community engagement and make all possible efforts to engage with the community and interested groups as part of our commitment to a full service of work before, during and after a project.”
The bandstand work has begun on site in Ellington Park. The structure has been carefully dismantled and shipped to the workshop, where it can be recast, restored and painted. It will be returned later in the year.
It is part of the large scale works in the park.
An archive website is also due to be launched as well as starting gardening and wildlife projects and setting up the community run cafe.
Thanet council and Friends of Ellington Park worked together to secure £1.8m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, for the regeneration of Ellington Park, under the Parks for People Programme.
The project will see the creation of a new community café and toilets, restored bandstand, landscape works to conserve the terrace and bring back the Cheal’s landscape scheme.
Ellington Park Heritage
The park’s history began in 1892 when the Ellington Estate passed into the ownership of the Ramsgate Corporation, now Thanet District Council, as a place of public recreation. In the early 1890’s Ellington Park was designed and laid out by a well-known firm of landscape architects Joseph Cheal and Son.
Its key features remain today including the pathways, perimeter gates, railings and the Pulhamesque rockery. The Victorian bandstand was manufactured by Walter MacFarland and Company around 110 years ago and has been the focus of events in the park since that time. It remains one of the parks key focal points.