Heritage Volunteers

Heritage Volunteers: Blackfriars Rose Garden Project.

 The Parks & Gardens team began their project in Blackfriars Rose Gardens in September 2017 with a tour of the gardens led by David Whitehead, our Arts Society adviser, and Geoff Tarring, Parks Manager for Herefordshire Council and our adviser for onsite work. In autumn 2017, the team deadheaded and pruned surviving roses. Over the winter of 2017 – 2018, we worked in the Herefordshire Archives & Records Centre to research the history of the rose gardens. We established that they had been planted in March 1964 as a gift to the City of Hereford from the Hereford & West of England Rose Society to mark their centenary (1867 – 1967).

Design Competition: Metalwork Gates for Blackfriars

 Design new gates for Blackfriars – the historic rose gardens off Widemarsh Street opposite Wickes in Hereford. The competition is open to all designers/makers in full-time education in blacksmithing in Hereford or graduates of 2018/20 gainfully employed as blacksmiths in Herefordshire. 

The objective is to replace the serviceable wooden gates to the site with sturdy, striking, and beautiful gates of iron or other metal that will intrigue and invite people into Blackfriars and entirely reflect the heritage site they are to grace.  Designers may find inspiration in the site, which contains: Blackfriars Preaching Cross, a 14th-century Grade II* Scheduled Ancient Monument); the ruins of Blackfriars refectory and prior’s lodging, converted into Sir Thomas Coningsby’s Hereford town house ca. 1600; and Blackfriars Rose Gardens, donated by Hereford & West of England Rose Society in 1964 and now in restoration. The word BLACKFRIARS should appear on the gate.

The three judges are signed up: Walenty Pytel, famous for his metalwork sculptures of birds & more; Pete Smith, master artist blacksmith who made the gates in north porch of Hereford Cathedral and taught blacksmithing at Holme Lacy for 12 years; and Kevin Knipe, managing director of Merchant Metals Ltd and chairman of Hereford in Bloom. Designs due by noon on 31 October will be judged over two days at Holme Lacy: On 1 November the judges will select a shortlist of three, each of whom will be given £100 to make an element of the gate. On 8 November, the elements will be judged along with other requirements (see attached judging criteria). The design will be submitted to Historic England and Herefordshire Council for approval, and the winner’s cost estimate will be used in raising funds to make the gate. 


To join the Parks & Gardens team or Friends of Blackfriars Rose Gardens, please contact Anne Harbour or a member of the committee. A welcome awaits you!