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Firestone’s PondGard enables Victorian pond restoration at Gunnersbury Park

Firestone Buildings Products’ PondGard EPDM lining has been used to refurbish the ‘Horseshoe Pond’ at Gunnersbury Park in West London as part of a significant improvement programme at the 75 hectare, Grade II listed landscape.

Purchased for the nation from the Rothschild family, Gunnersbury Park is now jointly managed by Ealing and Hounslow borough councils. Thanks to two Lottery Heritage Fund grants, the councils have embarked on a major scheme to overhaul the museum on site and make significant improvements to the Park, which includes restoration of some of its historic buildings and its two ponds.

Located in front of the Park’s historic orangery, the Victorian Horseshoe Pond was partially infilled in the 1960s, at which time the remaining portion was modified with concrete additions to create a modern water feature.  This had subsequently fallen out of use and out of fashion and the restoration project has involved de-silting, draining and excavating the pond, removing the 1960s additions and re-profiling the pond to return it to its original appearance.

New footings and a new blockwork wall have been introduced in addition to the existing Victorian wall and contractor, Ivel Aquatics, excavated the pond to the required depth, compacting the clay soil at the base. The Ivel Aquatics team then laid a 300g separation and filter geotextile before installing the Firestone PondGard EPDM lining membrane. The 1mm thick membrane was cut into sections and laid into the pond cavity with a 150mm overlap on each section, which was joined using Firestone’s QuickSeam self-adhesive tape. The lining was taken up the sides of the pond and secured in place by coping stones placed around the perimeter.

An additional layer of geotextile was then laid onto the PondGard membrane followed by a surcharge of clay soil, which both anchored the lining in place and obscured it from view.  The pond area was then landscaped and filled with water.

The project has now been completed and the boating pond located near the main entrance to the Park has also been upgraded, with a new clay bund installed as a temporary measure to reinforce the surrounding concrete and pond edge to stabilise the structure and prevent water loss.

Councillor Corinna Smart, Hounslow Council’s Cabinet Member for public health and leisure said: “The transformation of Gunnersbury Park will provide a vital local resource for leisure, culture and relaxation. By restoring the ponds we are reintroducing some of the original Victorian splendour to the Grade II listed landscape and the PondGard lining will ensure the Horseshoe Pond remains high impact and low maintenance for many years to come.”