• Council consultation brochure [3.7Mb pdf]
• Council consultation online survey
What is ‘Gloriana’?
Gloriana is H.M. Queen’s Royal Rowbarge which was presented to Her Majesty the Queen as part of the 2012 Diamond Jubilee celebrations. As well as being a working craft, is an extraordinary work of local design, art and craftsmanship. It will also be one of the few tangible remains of the national celebrations of the Queen’s historic Diamond Jubilee, an event that has occurred only three times in English history. As such, it will become part of the national heritage for future generations.
Her Majesty the Queen has asked that the vessel be maintained by a trust and has given permission for it to be available for charitable and other ceremonial uses. The vessel is built largely of wood. The design closely reflects the London livery and State Barges of the 17th, 18th and early 19th Centuries. Gloriana was built by a team of local boatbuilders, led by a local Master Boat Builder. The expectation is that the Gloriana will have a long working life of charitable, Royal and State functions.
Why does she need a home?
At the naming ceremony, Her Majesty the Queen asked that Gloriana be maintained by Lord Sterling and the Maritime Heritage Trust and approved the principle that Gloriana will be used to promote better use of the Thames. This is now being done via a programme of opportunities for Royal-supported charities and other events that celebrate the Thames – with a particular emphasis on involving young people.
It is essential however that she has a safe and secure home to act as a permanent base. She needs access to the water to facilitate her charitable and ceremonial functions, to enable members of the public to admire her beauty and learn of the history of the vessel, and in practice to learn about the process and methods of building boats from centuries gone. Over the past few months, Richmond Council has been working with Lord Sterling to identify a possible solution.
Why was this borough chosen?
A number of boroughs expressed interest in providing a permanent home for the Royal Rowbarge. The trustees considered Richmond in view of the borough’s long royal connections and the historical importance of river borne traffic to the growth of Twickenham. The borough is well placed to provide the Royal Rowbarge with easy access upstream to Windsor and Henley and down to central London.
Its location is ideal in making the barge available for occasions of State in central London and other events on the River Thames. The Council actively encouraged interest in Richmond, mindful not only of the historic royal connections but the fact that Gloriana was built by a Richmond Master Boat Builder, thus creating a direct link with the borough. _________________________________________________________
Why was Orleans Gardens chosen?
With the above in mind, the Council, along with the Trustees, commissioned a feasibility study to review the practicalities of housing the Royal Rowbarge in the borough and to consider what additional benefits would be forthcoming. After a general review of mooring locations, the use of existing boatyards and external mooring was rejected due to existing use commitments and a lack of security for external mooring.
The study focused in detail on four possible solutions; in the vicinity of Buccleuch Gardens, the Gothic Site in Petersham Road, Marble Hill Park / Orleans Gardens and some existing Richmond boatyards. All sites except for Orleans Gardens were considered unsuitable for technical, construction or planning reasons. The site at Orleans Gardens was considered to be the best option because:
• The site was previously used for a boathouse in the 19th century and is large enough to house Gloriana. It provides good access from the River Thames.
• Use of the site re-establishes the functional links between Orleans House and the River Thames.
• Providing the design of the Boat House and proposed new café is sympathetic to the local surroundings, the project affords the best opportunity to comply with planning constraints on a riverside site and all other statutory obligations as required by bodies such as the Port of London Authority and the Environment Agency.
• The location is close to the area covered in the Council’s Twickenham Area Plan and is in keeping with its overall objectives which, for example, seeks to provide more focus on the cultural and historical identity of Twickenham and needs to make more use of the rivers for the borough.
• The proposal fits well with the Council’s proposals to promote the use of Orleans House Gallery as a heritage information hub and study centre.
• Orleans Gardens has good access for pedestrians and cyclists using the river paths on each bank of the River Thames as it adjoins the Hammerton’s Ferry.
Having your say about the proposals
This proposal is in the very early stages of design and development. As part of this work the views of the local community, admirers of Gloriana and users of the river are very important. Richmond Council is carrying out this consultation to discuss the high level proposals. Following this, the proposals will be worked up and further consultation would be carried out as part of the planning process.
Reinstating the original boat house
The boat house at Orleans House was originally located to the east of Orleans gardens, where the existing cafe is now. It incorporated a channel cut into the land from the river and an arched entrance. It is thought to have been built around 1850 to the designs of Henry Edward Kendall. Kendall, a pupil of Thomas Leverton and John Nash, was the architect for the 2nd Earl of Kilmorey, who became owner of Orleans House in 1846.
The etching in the brochure by Kendall shows his plans for a fine Palladian boat house, which was in addition to his alterations to the house and gardens. A beautiful, undated etching by the artist Wilfred Huggins, then resident in Twickenham, shows the boat house in a similar setting on the canal leading from the River Thames. This canal continued into a tunnel under the boat house under what is now Orleans Road, to a shallow flight of steps at the tunnel exit in the grounds of Orleans House.
Our proposal seeks to reinstate the original plan, following the historic alignment of the canal and restoring a boat house to the site. In doing so, our aim is to celebrate Richmond’s past and help to reestablish the legacy of Orleans House. This approach follows the wishes of the Cunard family, a notable shipping magnate, who made it a condition of sale that no buildings should be erected on the property other than a boathouse or greenhouse, so as not to disrupt the view from Richmond Hill.
What could the boat house look like?
Exterior view The Gloriana Boat House will create a permanent home for the Royal Rowbarge, which was commissioned for Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. The project is conceived to celebrate the legacy of the flotilla and to invite people to learn about the barge’s history, creating a space where it is protected from the elements and can be conserved for future generations.
The site is in the London borough of Richmond upon Thames, in the grounds of Orleans House, close to the grand mansions of Marble Hill House and Ham House on the opposite bank of the river. This location was chosen, in part, following historical analysis of the area, which revealed that there was once a boat house on the riverfront, connected by a tunnel to Orleans House in the nineteenth century. The land will be re-excavated to create a channel that is long enough to accommodate two lengths of the barge. One half of the channel will be sheltered beneath a simple timber building.
The building’s dimensions are based around the proportions of the 30-metre-long Gloriana. In contrast to the ornate, gilded details of the royal barge, the architecture is simple and makes use of tactile natural materials. Inside the boat house, information panels will explain the history and construction of the barge, and the walls will provide storage for the oars. Linear openings between the slats and in the roof will create a dynamic interplay of sunlight and shadow, and light can be controlled to protect the barge and minimise the amount of light emitted, so as not to disturb the bat population.
Gloriana Boat House
Designed to make the minimum impact on the natural landscape, the seven-metre-high building will nestle discreetly between the taller trees on the site. The building is designed to allow for flooding and the dock can be drained once a year to allow restoration work to the hull of the barge. Outside, the exterior channel functions as a lock, where the Gloriana can be displayed or lowered into the river. Maintaining continuous access along the riverside walkway, the pedestrian path will be joined over the lock by a new swing bridge, which will provide views towards Ham House.
The play area currently on the site will be replaced with a new playground, which replicates the footprint of the boat and has a nautical theme inspired by the Gloriana. Children will be able to climb up to the prow of the play barge and slide down its sides. In place of the oarsmen, there will be see-saws and swings, the centre of the boat will become a climbing frame and the bow is dug into the earth to form an amphitheatre, where parents can rest and supervise children. The project also includes a new café, which is open to all and will incorporate public toilet facilities.
Is this a ‘done deal’?
No. The project is still subject to funding and planning permission. As part of the design process, leading up to the planning application being submitted, we would like to hear the views of residents on the top level proposals. There will be further opportunities for residents to have their say during the planning process.
How can you shape the proposals?
Although feasibility studies and some initial designs have been undertaken, the project is subject to planning approval. It is now the intent to submit an application later in the summer. Therefore pre-planning consultation will be undertaken online from 5pm on Tuesday 1 July until Tuesday 29 July. From the 7-16 July an unmanned display will also be based in the Council Civic Centre reception. In addition, drop in sessions are being held at Orleans House Gallery:
• 18th July (10am – 4pm) in the Octagon Room
• 19th & 20th July (10am – 4pm) in the Stables.
Further consultation will accompany the normal planning process if it is decided to go ahead. _________________________________________________________
When is it anticipated that work will begin and be completed?
The start of the works will be subject to planning approval and relevant permissions / compliance with statutory requirements. Site investigations are still to be carried out, which may result in specific methods of construction being required in a work programme. At this stage, the main phase of work would probably commence in early 2015 with completion anticipated in the autumn of 2015. However, prior to commencement of the construction works, some enabling works and further investigations may be carried out towards the end of 2014. The timing of the programme will become more established in the light of consultation and as the design develops and the full extent of work is known. _________________________________________________________
How will the site be secured (when it is completed and open)?
Security is an important issue that is being considered from the outset. Measures such as e.g. security cameras and the relative locations of the café and Boat House will be reviewed. A lock gate at the entrance to the Boat House would ensure the Boat House could not be entered under water.
Is this area subject to flooding?
Yes it is. However the area in this location is a little higher than its surrounds and tends to suffer less from flooding. Nevertheless flood mitigation measures will be put in place as well as drainage provisions.
Will the playground be removed?
No. Allegations of this are wholly false. As part of the proposals, we will rebuild the play area next to the proposed boat house. The play area would be on a similar size and scale as it is now. During the construction period, based on the final design and construction methods used, we will provide a temporary relocation of the play area nearby in Orleans Park. _________________________________________________________
Will the café be removed?
No. However, the existing building is considered to be unattractive for its purpose and location. Hence the Council is currently in discussion with the current café owner to agree terms which would lead to replacement of the property. It is felt that a new café which is more in keeping with its surroundings and run by a private operator (not a multinational chain) would provide greater benefit to local residents and visitors to the area.
What impacts do the proposals have on Hammerton’s Ferry?
Whilst the proposals will result in a small reduction of the Hammerton’s pontoon, the ferry will service will remain.
Will there be a separate visitor or tourist centre?
No. There would be access for schools and others to enter the Boat House and a small access and display point would be included within the Boat House. Any exhibition relating to the river could be undertaken at Orleans House, as with the successful Gardens exhibition in 2013. _________________________________________________________
Would you provide additional visitor parking?
No. We do not anticipate substantial road traffic to the site and would not encourage it. There are no plans to provide additional parking facilities on or near the proposed site. We would actively encourage visitors to arrive by public transport, on foot, cycling, or by using the ferries available, now or in future, on the river. We would also ensure that there is additional cycle parking at the site.
Will this not worsen parking problems in the area? What traffic management plans are being considered?
We are aware of residents’ concerns about vehicle access to the Riverside in connection with use of Marble Hill House and other facilities. We would like to discuss the specifics of these during the consultation so we can attempt to address any concerns, whether or not the ‘Gloriana’ is accommodated. There are no plans to widen any road or to introduce through traffic systems and these will not be considered.
Will the Riverside barrier be removed?
No. The quiet, primarily pedestrian nature of the park is important and will be preserved. During the construction period there may be a requirement to permit access to some construction vehicles. If this is required it will be strictly managed and monitored. All means of construction access will be considered, including use of the river. _________________________________________________________
Who would pay for the construction of the boat house?
The project is subject to funding being identified. On 9th July Richmond Council’s Cabinet will be discussing the extent to which the Council could contribute a third of the capital cost, up to a cap of £1 million. We anticipate that the funding would be a mixture of grants e.g. HLF, private fundraising, donations as well as the Council funding. The scale of running costs are yet to be determined but the Council envisages that these will predominantly met from other sources, including private donations and sponsorships.
Will the area be covered in concrete? No. The retention of grass around the proposed Boat House and associated café and play ground area is an important feature of the design proposed.
Will trees have to be taken down?
At this stage of the process, it is expected that some trees would need to be removed. However, suggestions that there would be extensive loss of trees are false. Our priority is to minimise the impact on the Gardens and the local environment and we will expect any tree lost to be replaced and consider any design implications very closely. _________________________________________________________
What will be the impact of the construction on the local area?
Through the development of the design, we will look to minimise any impact that construction could have on the local area. Again, at this stage of the process, it is not possible to identify what such impact could be. But we will actively pursue methods of construction that will reduce any potential impact upon the local area e.g. modular construction to be undertaken off site and, if possible, use of river access.
What about the environmental impact to the area?
It is proposed that the construction be primarily of wood and glass to enable permeability of light and to fit into what will continue to be a woodland setting. An ecology study will be undertaken to identify the environmental impact of the project and set in place any measures required to reduce any impact. _________________________________________________________