Ilford’s Valentines Mansion to inspire teenagers

Walled gardens in one Redbridge’s finest parks will be studied by 120 inner city teenagers thanks to a �30,100 lottery grant.

In a mix of history, horticulture and the music of Mozart, pupils from Ilford and Islington will visit Valentines Mansion, Emerson Road, Ilford, to trace the history of the building, and its flowers, back to the 18th Century.

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields, an internationally renowned orchestra from Islington, will be working with heritage gardening experts from Vision Redbridge on the project which has been funded by the grant form the heritage lottery fund.

Orchestra boss Anna Rowe said: “We are strongly committed to education work, and we are delighted to be working with schools in Islington and Redbridge on this important heritage and music project.

“We are extremely grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for funding this initiative and look forward to welcoming the participants to our workshops.”

The young people will also study Mozart’s opera La Finta Giardiniera, The Pretend Gardener, and they will build a range of musical instruments and then compose a new musical work inspired by the gardens and the opera.

This work will be performed at Kings Place concert hall in central London.

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They will also work with Redbridge Museum to create an exhibition about the project to be displayed at Valentines Mansion and will be using the project findings to produce a teacher’s resource pack for the benefit of Redbridge and Islington schools in the future.

Sue Bowers, from the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “This project will offer a range of new skills to the young people taking part as well giving them the chance to express their discoveries through performance. They will also learn more about local history and the biodiversity of the park and gardens.”

Last month the gardens featured as the backdrop for the BBC series Great British Bake Off, with Sue Perkins. It was praised by producers for both its history and its beauty.