Green award for landmark garden

A prestigious award has been made to mark the outstanding effort to help Octavia Hill’s green legacy to continue to live on in the town where she was born.

At a ceremony (on Friday) to celebrate the re-opening for the new season of Centenary Green, a national memorial on the South Brink in Wisbech to the National Trust co-founder, a Royal Horticultural Society It’s Your Neighbourhood award for continued outstanding achievement in a community green space was presented to Mr Peter Clayton, chairman of the Octavia Hill Birthplace Museum Trust, by representatives of Wisbech in Bloom on behalf of Mr Bob Ollier, Fenland District Council’s parks and open spaces manager 

Boys and girls from St Peter’s Church of England Junior School, the lead school in the Revised Schools’ Programme, watched the handover of the certificate, which was performed by Wisbech mayor Councillor Garry Tibbs.   

Among the audience were Mr David Crouch, the project manager who played a pivotal role in the creation of Centenary Green, and a representative of Tin Fish Creative Communications, the Barton Road company which leads on marketing.

The RHS’s It’s Your Neighbourhood, a grassroots community gardening campaign which is part of Britain in Bloom, supports community groups cleaning up and greening up their local environment.

Centenary Green, which adjoins Octavia Hill’s Birthplace House at 7 South Brink, was opened in December 2013 by Dame Helen Ghosh, director general of the National Trust, to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of the town’s most famous daughter on a site that had been a derelict eyesore for more than ten years.

The public garden is a living legacy reflecting the principles of Octavia Hill, a pioneering English social reformer and a moving force behind the development of social housing, who believed that open spaces made a vital contribution to people’s wellbeing.

Now new security measures are planned for Centenary Green, including lighting and cameras, and a team of volunteers is set to monitor the space, keeping it tidy and welcoming so that people feel comfortable using it.

The new season at the Birthplace House begins on March 15 and the museum will open every day except Thursday and Friday from 1pm to 4.30pm, with the last admissions at 4pm, and, in addition to community use, there will be the opportunity for school groups to re-enact the Golden River Adventure fairy tale.

Mr  Clayton said:  “The RHS recognition of the community value of our garden is a most welcome development and a tribute to all the donors and volunteers who made this possible.”