Hale Chapel Cemetery Memorial Garden – Farnham, Surrey
When Farnham Town Council approached Graduate Landscapes to help design a communal garden in their town, we jumped at the chance. Not only because this was a local town in need of help, but also because the site itself had huge cultural and historic heritage. The derelict buildings at the centre of the cemetery date back to 1871 and were built from flint and brick by local builders ‘Goddards of East Street’. Fast forward to 2014, they were now becoming unused and deteriorating fast. Farnham Town Council, after engaging with how the local community, explored many options for their use and over time the project lacked momentum. They needed inspiration from a creative and professional design studio – us! Harriet Kingsford was assigned to design this project and she stepped up to the challenge.
The brief was to create a new garden of remembrance in the space for local residents and the wider community to utilise. As the buildings had been attracting anti-social behaviour, the garden needed to have no places to hide, be safe for all to use and re-use as many of the materials on site as possible. Ultimately though, it needed to be a tranquil environment and give recognition to its past life as two Chapels.
‘Immediately and on seeing the space, I literally had a light bulb moment! To keep some, if not all of the footprint of the buildings, re-using some if not all of the materials onsite, and picking out the most in-tact and beautiful features of the Chapels, and incorporating them into the scheme. In looking at the reports from the architect who’d undertaken a thorough analysis of the buildings, I quickly worked out that the height of the walls needed to be reduced and repaired where appropriate. The key features such as the gable windows and the stone mullions, I proposed removing and restoring at a safer height with the idea of being able to see through them at eye level. With the less in tact features, I laid flat on the floor and created planting beds in them. ‘ – Harriet Kingsford, garden designer at Graduate Landscapes.
Farnham Town Council appointed Landform to build the project, for which we enjoyed the collaboration with. We were invited back to the grand opening of the community garden and were overjoyed with the outcome. The garden is inviting, peaceful, safe, calming and a nod to the beautiful buildings that once stood proud here. Well done Harriet and to all involved!