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The 19th century stable yard

The 19th century stable yard
NTPL Zoƫ Colbeck

Monday, 29 October 2012

Green roof gets a green ribbon opening

Our new cycle shed with its living green roof is looking so lovely we thought we should have a little celebratory launch event for it - so it was officially 'opened' last Friday by members of the Wimbledon and Epsom & Ewell National Trust Associations who helped to fund it.

Paul installs our new water butt and Annie tidies the roof in preparation for the event (NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst)

We had some nice tea and scones (home-made by our cafe, of course), then John Little, who installed the green roof on the shed, talked about the benefits of green roofs in urban areas such as Morden.
John Little talks about his green roof (NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst)

Our visitors were amazed to see so much colour in the flowers on the roof and wanted to know all about how to water it and why we'd decided to give solitary bees a hotel. 

Flowers on the roof (NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst)

Charles Barraball from the Merton Cycle Campaign also came to the event and was delighted that we've provided more cycle facilities in the park, and such lovely ones.

Every opening event has to have a ribbon cutting, so Paul and Don, the Chairs from the two NT Associations obliged in cutting a green ribbon.

Paul and Don, Chairs of the Wimbledon and Epsom & Ewell NT Associations cut the green ribbon (NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst)

We then took our visitors for a look at the Archimedes Screw turbine, which they thought was suitably impressive.
The NT Members look at the Screw (NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst)

The remaining scones were then polished off and John did a spot of weeding for us on the roof.

John inspects his roof and pulls out a few weeds (NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst)

He found many more beautiful flowers than weeds, though:

Flowers on the roof (NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst)

The park is really grateful to the NT Associations for the support they give to us, which makes ideas such as the cycle shed become a reality. We hope that cyclists enjoy the new shelter and all of our visitors enjoy the beautiful new view behind the stable yard.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Living it green in Lille

Every 6 months all the European partners in the Livinggreen Project get together in one of our cities to plan the next stage of the project and sometimes hold a public event. This week it was time to go to Lille, in northern France.

The main square in Lille, with its 17th century buildings (NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst)

The day before our meeting we held a public event in Lille City Hall on the topic of 'Eco-renovation and the architectural value of housing - constraints or opportunities?'. The day was well attended by local property developers, architects, engineers, landlords, home owners etc.

The public event in the City Hall (NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst)

The day included a visit to one of four sites nearby, to see eco-renovation in progress in different types of building. I visited a small courtyard, hidden away off the street, where lots of small terraced houses are being renovated. I particularly liked the 'Metisse' insulation, made from recycled denim jeans by a local social enterprise.

The small courtyard with houses on both sides (NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst)

The blue 'Metisse' insulation made from recycled jeans (NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst)

Our partner meeting itself included a visit to the French building in our Livinggreen project - an inner city warehouse from the end of the 19th century. This is being renovated into a centre of sustainable housing, which will offer advice and information on various aspects of sustainable living, in a similar way to our Livinggreen Exhibition here in Morden. It will open in 2013.

The Livinggreen warehouse (NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst)

And as seems to happen on these visits, I found myself using my few hours of spare time to visit a renovated building - this time an amazing museum in an old art deco swimming pool - the Museum of Art and Industry in Roubaix. Well worth a visit if you're ever in Lille (after the sustainable housing centre, once it's open!).

 The Museum of Art and Industry, Lille (NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst)

Friday, 12 October 2012

How much pedalling does it take to power a light bulb?

Our Livinggreen Exhibition has just got an exciting new interactive exhibit - the Geffrye Museum in Hackney has kindly given us one of theirs. Visitors can now pedal with their hands to find out how much energy is used to power 3 different sorts of lightbulb.

James and Paul deliver the exhibit into the stable yard (NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst)

Volunteers Sophie and Daniel try out the new exhibit (NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst)

Meanwhile our waterwheel and turbine have had exciting new additions too. The waterwheel has finally had its outer bearing replaced - this was missing for years but was found recently down the River Wandle at Abbey Mills. We've now got it back, painted it and Paul and James braved the river to get it back into place.

Paul and James get ready to brave the river (NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst)

Paul clears the weeds off the wheel... (NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst)

...puts the bearing in place (NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst)

....and gets a hand back down into the river (NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst)

The Archimedes Screw turbine now has nice black railings around it, a new path and a new interpretation panel, so that visitors can properly enjoy it.

Dave from Mackleys comes back to check the new path (NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst)

The turbine in the autumn sunshine with its new interpretation panel (NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst)