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Garden Festival Launches Royal Pump Room

Leamington’s historic Royal Pump Rooms are being handed back to the people of Warwick district at a historic two day "Garden Festival" late this month.

Queen Victoria – who gave the town its royal title – will hand over the keys to the revamped building at a ceremony in its famous gardens on 1 May.

The royal visit is the highlight of a two day garden festival organised to promote the £6.9 million Royal Pump Rooms refurbishment which will open in the summer. The first phase – the Assembly Rooms, Café and Tourist Information Centre – will be opened to coincide with the town’s popular jazz festival on 26 and 27 June.

The garden festival will see the Royal Pump Room Gardens filled with stalls offering crafts and activities on Friday 30 April and Saturday 1 may as well as a marquee containing exhibitions, activities and information about the new look building.

All partners in the Royal Pump Rooms regeneration – Warwick District Council, Warwickshire County Council, South Warwickshire Tourism and Café operators Hudson Rowe – will be outlining their roles in the new cultural complex.

Groups playing a prominent role in promoting Leamington’s attractions – such as Leamington in Bloom, Agenda 21 and the Old Town Regeneration Board – will be staging exhibitions, displays and demonstrations throughout the two day event and there will be plenty of activities for children, including face painting.

Visitors will be offered restricted access to the Royal Pump Rooms and the town’s Guild of Guides, which organises free tours around the town during the summer, will be running guided walks looking at little known aspects of the town’s past.

The marquee will also host an exhibition which looks at how another of the town’s landmarks – the Jephson Gardens – are to be transformed in the next millennium, thanks to a £2.8 million lottery grant.

The second day of the festival sees the arrival of Queen Victoria to hand over the Pump Room keys to two Leamington youngsters, whose generation will be guardians of the historic building in the next century.

Her majesty will be among the first to enjoy the district council’s new Old Town Interpretation Project – a town trail consisting of a booklet and a series of informative boards highlighting areas of interest in Leamington’s history.

She will also take a turn around the Jephson Gardens, admire her own statue outside the town hall and meet Regent Street East traders – who will close their road to host a variety of special events – before examining the revamped facility at close quarters.

The Pump Rooms, built in 1814 at a cost of £18,024, and revamped at around 400 times that figure by Leamington contractors AC Lloyd, is set to open its final phase – library, art gallery and museum – in August.

The former swimming pool makes was for a library which, in its move from Avenue Road, gains an additional £122,000 worth of stock and an IT suite offering internet access, CD-ROM facilities and word processing packages.

The art gallery and museum will also move from their Avenue Road home to offer a range of exhibition spaces and including an interactive area with hands on activities, an education room and temporary exhibitions.

The Tourist Information centre, run by South Warwickshire Tourism, also moves in to the restored building where it will offer the most powerful computerised booking system in the country, out of hours information via a hole in the wall computer and souvenirs. Bosses estimate the move will double the number of visitors to the TIC from its current 60,000 a year to 120,000.

The public can take the waters – the reason for the building’s construction 185 years ago – at any time of day from tap outside the complex or during opening hours inside the main entrance concourse whose focal point is a specially commissioned water sculpture.

A café will be open seven days a week and the building’s two assembly rooms will be available for functions.

More Information:
Helen Salisbury  01926 859829


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CWN / News / Newswire / Warwick District Council / 16 Apr 99

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