Lambs first heard about the scheme to reinstate many of the details at Wardown Park in the summer of 2001 when we received details of the Daisy Chain Wall which needed rebuilding. The project was to be funded partly by the National Lottery and was given the go-ahead in 2003 to encompass not only the Daisy Chain Wall but also the Boat House, Bathing House, entrance walls, various paths and planting.
The house had been built in 1877 for Halley Stewart, Liberal MP 1888-95 who was part owner of Wootton Pillinge brickworks, which later became Stewartby, and who was also responsible for planning and developing the model village of Stewartby. The park was bought by Luton Borough Council in 1904.
The red special bricks for the house and the wall came from Leverstock Green Brickworks a few miles to the south and although the bricks forming the main struts of the wall are not numbered some of the other specials were obviously standard items. The detail of the wall is particularly intricate with back to back specials forming struts of a triangular lattice pattern with plinths, moulded string courses and copings creating the overall balustrade. This all sits on top of a three foot high retaining wall which curves over it's entire length. Part way along the wall are two viewing platforms projecting out and built with the same specials carefully adapted to form the tight curve.
Lambs visited the site with Land Use Consultants on a number of occasions to inspect the original bricks and take details in order that samples could be manufactured. After careful research an agreed colour and texture was produced from our Goodwood range at the Pitsham Brickworks and in August 2004 Cliveden Conservation placed an order for the Daisy Chain Wall.
Samples of the existing specials were obtained in order to help the process of mould manufacture which was especially useful due to the complex nature of some specials. Hand throwing of the local clay with a special fine sand preceded a lengthy drying period which is essential if manufacture of these types of specials is going to be a success.
Firing of the specials took place in the gas fired kiln to a tried and tested firing pattern, controlled by the computer, which took the temperature over 1050°C. When nearly cool the specials were drawn from the kiln and checked before packing in polystyrene ready for dispatch to site. Once on site Cliveden Conservation were able to devise a former to hold the struts in position while the coping courses were added and the whole wall was pointed to match the retaining wall below.
The finished wall stands in tribute to the craftsmen involved who have successfully reproduced the skills of the nineteenth century masons.
In addition to this wall Lambs supplied Red Rubber Arches and specials to other areas of the park including three gothic arches to west entrance and a large Red Rubber Arch to the Boat House. The project was completed in January 2004.