Station Garden, on the West Road and approach to Haddington, is the site if the former Haddington Station forecourt and entrance. A feature of the town that has almost been forgotten, although the station building can still be found behind the high wall that marks the boundary to the garden.
The original features of the station entrance have fallen into disrepair and under Council ownership was being managed as a local amenity garden /space.
In 2016 the Haddington community, East Lothian Council (ELC) and its partners got behind a proposal to enhance the garden.
The project aimed to completely refresh the hard and soft landscape elements in an effort to create an area that would be used and enjoyed by the public and to try and commemorate this lost feature of the town. The significant features on site were the decorative brick retaining wall to the rear and the remnants of the sandstone and iron railing boundary to the front. With its south facing aspect, the redesign aimed to highlight the wall and provide a quiet place to sit and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the main road and to restore the boundary features.
The existing semi mature trees were of poor quality and were not performing well and they also shaded out the existing seating, leaving them relatively unused. A sustainable planting solution was favoured over the existing traditional annual bedding display was. A commemorative tree was planted to celebrate Haddington’s twinning association with Aubigny Sur Mer. The site is now very much appreciated and enjoyed by the public with the new seating often occupied and planting admired and enjoyed.
The second phase focussed on an improvement to the dilapidated stone wall that had previously supported decorative cast iron railings. The aim here was to allude to the original enclosure without leaving the area isolated and visually blocked from the road and to interpret the historic function of the site as the station entrance / forecourt. The community agreed to the artistic interpretation rather than restoration to mark both the existing history of the site and created a little bit of tomorrow’s history.
Funding was secured from the Percentage for Arts Section 75 Contribution from local housing development and a working group consisting of Community Council, HADAS, Blooming Haddington, Lost Haddington, Haddington Business Association and ELC was formed. Blacksmith / Metal Working Artists were invited to submit outline proposals for consideration. The commission was awarded to P Johnson & Co at Ratho Forge. From initial concepts, the designs were developed in consultation with the community groups, with reference to historic photos and colours of the local railway livery. A delightful interpretation of historic railings were designed that provided a strong reference to the railway while adding some fun and creating a welcoming boundary and entrance to the garden.
The walls were restored and railing completed in July 2017 and has prompted many positive responses and appreciation from the public.
Supporting StatementThis project is the most recent of a number of projects that have been delivered by the community of Haddington over the last 20 years. Haddington and District Amenity Society (HADAS) promote the conservation and protection of Haddington’s heritage and led a project that restored the traditional railings to St Mary’s Church in the 1990’s. Since then improvements to the entrance to Neilson Park and numerous building conservation projects have taken place with HADAS support.
HADAS joined forces with other community groups in 2012 to deliver a Vision for Haddington with an aim to bring improvements to Haddington and its town centre. The Station Garden project brought together these community groups with a common aim to commemorate the history of the town, improve the amenity of a forgotten space and to restore important historic fabric. The project reflects the joint ambition of a local community and the range of groups that contribute to its continued improvement.
This project celebrates a lost feature of Haddington, the railway, and uses a modern design to deliver a well crafted feature that complements a new landscape garden. The restored space helps to signify the approach and entrance to the historic town.