The Friends’ contribution to the special Archaeology Day at Gunnersbury will be a map game, searching for the Gunnersbury Parks of the past!
Around 350 years ago Gunnersbury was owned by a lawyer, Sir John Maynard. And around 250 years ago it was owned by Princess Amelia, the daughter of the King. When Maynard or Amelia went for a stroll through their estates, what sort of grounds were they walking through? Were they full of trees, flowers, ponds and fruit? Did they live behind high walls? Or were there open lawns with distant views? One way to find out is to study the old maps and then to try to pin what they reveal onto today’s landscape. It’s hard work, but it might be possible.
This will be an active event, using copies of the maps to work our way around today’s park. It will be full of disagreements and discussions, because old maps are nowhere near as accurate as today’s GPS! But by the end, all the participants will have discovered the two earlier parks woven into today’s landscape.
This will last for about an hour, and we will do it even if it rains. Meet outside the front door of the Museum at 12 noon.
The game will be organised by James Wisdom and Val Bott, local historians and members of the Friends of Gunnersbury Park and Museum committee.
This is just one part of a whole day’s activities. You can also join specialists from Museum of London Archaeology to explore the Park’s fascinating history. The MOLA team will be talking about the archaeological work they are currently undertaking in the Park, supported by the first round of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This work will inform the application for the second round bid for funds in 2014. They will reveal what lies ahead, including geophysical survey and trial excavation.
Visitors can handle genuine archaeological artefacts and take part in activities, including a family discovery trail. There is also a chance to dress up as a Roman soldier or Queen Boudicca, join in sandpit archaeological digs and experience life ‘below stairs’ as a servant in the Victorian kitchens.