Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Darwin Gardens Millennium Green A Pre-History 1959 - 2000

I have been asked numerous times about the pre-history of Ilkley’s Millennium Green, Darwin Gardens. When a young chap said he didn’t know who Charles Darwin was, it prompted me to write the following pages for this website. The Project is now part of the community and has long been out of my hands. Hopefully this is the last time I will have to write on the subject.

Back in the mists of time, at least that is how it seems today, I would cycle from my home in Eden Park, Kent to the village of Down just south of Bromley. Little realising in future years the once owner of this fine house would again inspire me. I remember a tidy yet somewhat overgrown garden. A long sandy path and a house full, when allowed entry, of scientific equipment.

At least as a child it seemed that way. Memories of Down House and the family who once occupied that delightful corner were to stay with me for many years. As too other places often passed through or investigated as the case may be. The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew come to mind.

Some years later after leaving school and joining a local parks department the world of plants again opened upto me. It wasn’t long before day release and night school beckoned and a glimmer of the past revealed itself once more. How strange to talk about someone you never knew, who nevertheless touched your life enough to inspire you to greater things.

Darwinians will have guessed the occupant of Down House and why a budding horticulturist held him in such esteem. I will not bore you with the intervening years, but after the parks department came college. Or as it was known in those days, The Yorkshire (WR) Institute of Agriculture and Horticulture, Askham Bryan, near York. The educational seed bed for some of this country’s foremost horticulturists. In the late sixties it became Askham Bryan College and about the same time a tree planting project took place.

Involving local people and organisations, schools and colleges. Universities and other training bodies. Churches and religious groups, farmers, Landowners, businesses large and small, not forgetting the College. One family joked how they now had a ‘living family tree’. This humorous incident was to inspire part of a future project.

The early seventies saw a move to Ilkley as a member of the grounds staff at Ilkley College of Education. A fine building from the mid 19th century, originally the Ilkley Wells House Hydropathic Establishment and designed by Cuthbert Brodrick of Hull, architect for Leeds Town Hall, Leeds Corn Exchange and The Spa Hotel, Scarborough. Part of my work at Ilkley College entailed looking after the grounds around a nearby building, known then as today, as Hillside. They too would feature in the same project.

Onward to the eighties and a change of scene, well nearly. Writing and historical research started to take over from horticulture though by all means not all. Two friends retired (?) and went to live in a cottage on Ilkley Moor. A cottage with two stone baths and a history which spans centuries. A group of buildings for which I have a great attachment and the ‘Foundation Stone’ of Ilkley as we see the town today. Ilkley Spaw Baths - White Wells. Still unaware seeds planted in 1959 were becoming restless to grow and the project coming ever closer!

There had been talk for some time, nearly thirty years if people in the know were honest, of Ilkley College closing. It soon struck me how important Wells House and Hillside were to the scientific community for a start. So in 1994 began a long single-handed struggle, to inform the rest of the world what could and would be lost if the college closed.

Project Darwin had surfaced! I have to say, while much interest was shown by the rest of the world, the local community were more interested in saving their precious Green Belt from development. The college closed and the Green Belt left untouched. But I digress.

The main reason no-one would touch the buildings was finance, one does wonder however when an American couple gave $14million to their child’s school for a new science lab. West View Park beside Wells House was becoming more overgrown than usual. The path to the moors being passable only with a native guide and machete. A stream where Kingfishers once flew resembled an Amazon backwater. Bridges fell apart, culverts became blocked, fallen trees left in situ and the whole would have succumbed to total dereliction, but for the determination of a stubborn Yorkshireman.

While battling with them over t’ill as I call Bradford Council to re-open the footpath, mend bridges and make the whole more presentable, Ilkley Parish Council asked residents for ideas for millennium projects. Being parks trained I could see the possibilities of transforming West View Park from a derelict wilderness to a community project the town would be proud of.

What started as Project Darwin in 1994 became Darwin Gardens.
A Vision for the Future.

Darwin Gardens for those who don’t know the area are situate atop Wells Road on the edge of Ilkley Moor. Ex-pats and older visitors would remember the area as West View Park and Bandstand. Laid out around 1904 as Ilkley’s premier park it drew hundreds to the town and Ilkley Moor for fresh air, music, or playing on the nearby putting green. On the western boundary stands Wells House, on the east Hillside and on the moor above White Wells. All three buildings used by Charles Darwin while staying in Ilkley between October and December of 1859. A very significant year to Darwin if not the whole world.

In the early years many residents said the idea was ‘pie-in-the-sky’ and Bradford Council wouldn’t wear it. Others didn’t want to know unless the name West View Park remained. In order to prove the local populace wrong I undertook a survey in town, asking around fifty people of all ages the whereabouts of West View Park. All but three had never heard of it.

The three who had only knew it existed from a recent (at the time) article in a local paper. Surprisingly one of the latter had lived opposite the park for quite some years and didn’t realise it existed or that it was a park. Prefering to call it ‘an area of unspoilt countryside untouched by the hand of man’.

Using the InterNet, I sent out perhaps two dozen emails world-wide asking for interested parties to contact me in the refurbishment of West View Park for the Millennium. I also sent a similar number under the name of Darwin Gardens. The former were ignored while the latter brought dozens of interested replies. Proving Darwin Gardens was definitely a ‘product’ which would sell.

My first thought was for work to be done by the unemployed. The government were promoting ‘Project Work‘ and while certain objectives on the face of it may sound good in Westminster, the reality coupled with job satisfaction could in certain circumstances or communities, be found wanting. Especially rural communities.

For a project to succeed it must appeal to all groups especially the young. It is they who will carry it forward and must be included at all stages of the project’s construction. The concept behind Darwin Gardens encompassed history, art, sculpture, geography, the sciences, religion, countryside and much more. Irrespective of race or religion residents/visitors will find something at Darwin Gardens all can relate to. Ideally placed at the edge of Ilkley Moor, made famous by that infernal song, Darwin Gardens are within easy reach of the populace.

Having it’s own car park and being on a bus route makes access even easier. Wells House, the former Hydropathic Establishment where Darwin stayed for the first part of his visit, has undergone extensive refurbishment as part of an exclusive housing development. While North View House/Wells Terrace where he moved when joined by his family has also been refurbished and re-named Hillside Court.

During the time Hillside was St Winifreds Maternity Home another famous plantsman - Alan Titchmarsh first took air beside Ilkley Moor and Darwin Gardens, thus continuing Ilkley’s unique botanical theme. White Wells for their part look down from Ilkley Moor as they have done for near three hundred years. While donkeys no longer carry visitors up-hill one can relax in their tea room after your walk and is still possible to plunge into those icy waters which Darwin took in 1859.

In 1997 Ilkley Parish Council asked residents for ideas/projects to celebrate the millennium. On Tuesday 24th June the same year a working group was formed to further discuss eleven projects submitted, one of which being Darwin Gardens. Enthusiasm was somewhat lacking from many quarters and a deal of frustration felt by others. Frustration at no-one wanting to accept responsibility or seemingly so, plus ideas which may have served the 19th Century but not the 21st.

By July 1998 and with little firm backing or interest from the Parish Council or town I was again frustrated and desperate to find someone with marketing experience. It was at this point Dr Peter Hornet agreed to take on the Project and I passed ninety five per cent of my original plans for Darwin Gardens over to him. Keeping five per cent for a future addition to the Gardens.

The Darwin Gardens Trust was formed and while Dr Hornet, Trust members and the 'Darwin Gardens Army' publicised the project locally I continued via mobile phones, BBC Local Radio and the InterNet to inform the world of Darwin Gardens unique place in history. Thanks to The Natural History Museum in London I was put in touch with Professor Charles Urbanowicz of the California State University, Chico. Dr Urbanowicz kindly took a copy of this webpage and others to Ros Cameron of the Charles Darwin Research Station, Santa Cruz, Galapagos, while touring in the area.

After Dr John Haig designed the Millennium Maze, I realised people born at the former St Winifreds Maternity Home may possibly be interested in buying a stone or tree. Once again the media and InterNet were brought into play and ex-pats soon contacted the Trust. A network of interested parties spread across the globe, many of whom still keep contact with me.

Looking forward to the official opening it was clear we needed a ‘Name’ to do the honours and who better than an old friend, former resident and acclaimed author, Jilly Cooper. About this time I wrote to HRH the Prince of Wales for advice, both replied. Although Jilly would be in the middle of promoting her latest book, Score, she re-arranged her diary for 2000 to be in Ilkley on the 24th June.

Today is tomorrow’s yesterday.

The above is a warning to anyone who initiates projects for the good of their community. Like the Head Gardener who takes all the credit, often the person to come up with the initial ideas, who does the early ground work, research and cold selling is forgotten by those who follow. Who will Ilkley remember for conceiving Darwin Gardens?

Due to circumstances completely beyond my control I no longer have input into the project. I do nevertheless, take a great interest in areas which further Darwin’s philosophy, also the small white buildings which he visited during his stay - White Wells. But for White Wells there may never have been a Spa town of world re-known for Darwin to visit, nor for that matter the many others who came to take the waters. The continued success of the project depends largely on input by the local community, especially our younger members.For it is they who will bring their children and grandchildren long after we are pushing up the daisies.

If you have associations with Ilkley as visitors, former residents or staff/students at Ilkley College of Housecraft/Education, The Deaconess College on Queens Road, St Winifreds Maternity Home or one of the many schools in the area we would like to hear from you. Darwin Gardens Millennium Green is free and open to everyone.


Blogger msuq63rigi said...

St0ck For Your Review - FCPG

Current Profile
Faceprint Global Solutions (FCPG)
Current Price $0.15

A U.S. based-company dedicated to the goal of
bringing effective security solutions to the marketplace.

With violent and white-collar terrorism on the rise,
companies are starving for innovative security solutions.

FCPG is set to bring hot new security solutions to
the industry, with currently over 40 governmental and
non-governmental contracts, being negotiated.

Please Review Exactly What this Company Does.

Why consider Faceprint Global Solutions (FCPG)?

Faceprint Global Solutions (FCPG) holds the exclusive
marketing rights from Keyvelop, to sell the world�s
leading encryption technology to be distributed directly
to the Healthcare industry in North America.

Faceprint Global Solutions has completed its biometric
software that recognizes facial features of individuals
entering and leaving through airports, ship yards, banks,
large buildings, etc.

FCPG acquired Montreal-based Apometrix Technologies,
which enhances the companies mission of being a
full-service provider to the multi-application smart
card industry. The North American market appears ready
for significant expansion of price-competitive, proven,
multi-application solutions on smart cards. Apometrix's
forecast of over 300 customers and sales of more than $50
million in North America over the next five years, appears
very realistic, according to company management.

Faceprint Global Solutions is currently in contract negotiations
with over 40 governmental agencies and businesses seeking to use
their encryption, biometric, and smart-card technologies.

Breaking News for Faceprint Global Solutions (FCPG)

Faceprint Global Solutions (FCPG) is pleased to announce that
IBM will now offer the world�s leading encryption software to
its major Healthcare clients in North America.

With FCPG owning the exclusive North American rights to distribute
the worlds leading encryption and transmission software developed by
Keyvelop, FCPG is poised to capture large volumes of sales generated
by customers currently using IBM�s software in the healthcare and other industries.
�This is a very positive move for FCPG and for Keyvelop,� said FCPG
CEO Pierre Cote. �We are very happy about the decision to go with IBM.
This is a continuation of the progress made by everyone associated
with FCPG and its partners.�

Buell Duncan, IBM's general manager of ISV & Developer Relations commented,
�Collaborating with Keyvelop will ensure that we develop open solutions
that are easy to maintain and cost effective for our customers in the
healthcare and life sciences industry.�

Among other things, this new software technology which is currently
being used by a number of European healthcare companies, is used to
send any file, regardless of format or size. Encryption keys, evidence
of transmission integrity with fingerprint calculation, time-stamping
of all actions and status record updating, pre-checking sender and
receiver identities, validating file opening dates are part of Keyvelop features.
About FacePrint Global Solutions, Inc.

FCPG operates a business, which develops and delivers a variety of
technology solutions, including biometric software applications on
smart cards and other support mediums (apometric solutions). FCPG�s
products provide biometric solutions for identity authentication and a
host of smart card- and biometrics-related hardware peripherals and
software applications. Apometrix, FCPG�s wholly-owned subsidiary, combines
on-card or in-chip multi-application management solutions with best-of-breed
�in-card matching� biometrics. Keyvelop�s secure digital envelope solution
and Apometrix�s on-card biometrics work together to produce the winning
combination in the fields of security, traceability and identity management.

The examples above show the Awesome, Earning Potential of little known
Companies That Explode onto Investor�s Radar Screens. This sto,ck will
not be a Secret for long. Then You May Feel the Desire to Act Right Now!
And Please Watch This One Trade!


Information within this email contains "forwardlooking statements" within
the meaning of Section 27Aof the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21B of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Any statements that express or involve
discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs,
plans, projections, objectives, goals, assumptions or future events or
performance are not statements of historical fact and may be "forward
looking statements". "Forward |ooking statements" are based on
expectations, estimates and projections at the time the statements are made
that involve a number of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual
results or events to differ materially from those presently anticipated.
We were paid a sum of three thousand USD to disseminate this information from
ir marketing. Forward loking statements in this action may be identified through
the use of words such as "projects", "foresee", "expects", "will", "anticipates",
"estimates", "believes", "understands" or that by statements indicating
certain actions "may", "could", or "might" occur. Risk factors include
general economic and business conditions, the ability to acquire and develop
specific projects, the ability to fund operations and changes in consumer
and business consumption habits and other factors overwhich the company has
little or no control. The publisher of this newsletter does not represent
that the information contained herein are true and correct.

6:13 PM  
Blogger edwardjones3840390453 said...

Are you stuck in a job that is leading you on the path to no where?
We can help you obtain a College Degree with classes, books, and exams
Get a Genuine College Degree in 2 Weeks!
Well now you can get them!

Call this number now 24 hours a day 7 days a week (413) 208-3069

Get these Degrees NOW!!!


Within 2 weeks!
No Study Required!
100% Verifiable

Call this number now 24 hours a day 7 days a week (413) 208-3069

These are real, genuine, They are verifiable and student records and
transcripts are also available. This little known secret has been
kept quiet for years. The opportunity exists due to a legal loophole
allowing some established colleges to award degrees at their discretion.

With all of the attention that this news has been generating, I wouldn't
be surprised to see this loophole closed very soon

Get yours now, you will thank me later
Call this number now (413) 208-3069
We accept calls 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

8:30 PM  
Blogger ldis2nxuu13tcss said...

hey, I just got a free $500.00 Gift Card. you can redeem yours at Abercrombie & Fitch All you have to do to get yours is Click Here to get a $500 free gift card for your backtoschool wardrobe

11:37 AM  
Blogger 6zvdg45bm said...

hey, I just got a free $500.00 Gift Card. you can redeem yours at Abercrombie & Fitch All you have to do to get yours is Click Here to get a $500 free gift card for your backtoschool wardrobe

6:19 AM  
Blogger Emma P said...

Hello, my name is Emma Powell and I am a student at Bradford uni. My group and I are currently undertaking a project about Ikley and what it has to offer to the public. We are looking for people who can offer us any information about Ilkley and speakers to talk on our video. The final footage (video) will be shown on the "Bradford Big Screen" and possibly on the Bradford tour website.
From reading your blogs, it seems you know a great deal about Ilkley and what it has to offer. I was wondering if you could offer us any advice on what to include; links to websites or tell us about any up comming attractions you think might be good to include in the footage. Or if you would like to meet and talk to us in person?

Any reply would be great, thank you

Follow up comments should go to my email account, but if you would like to contact me email:

Emma Powell

10:52 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home