UNESCO World Heritage Site plaques at Crow Park, Keswick26 February 2019
Twelve new slate plaques have been installed at Crow Park on the shores of Derwent Water at Keswick, the official site which celebrates the Lake District's inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The plaques help tell visitors the story behind what makes the National Trust’s Crow Park and the English Lake District such a special place, recognised across the world.
Hewn from Fleetwith Pike at Honister Slate Mine further up the Borrowdale valley, the plaques beautifully represent the merger between heritage craft, industry and conservation. Measuring a combined length of around twelve metres they are placed either side of the original plaques which were unveiled in March last year by his Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales.
The inscriptions on the first set of six panels, set to the left-hand side of the original plaque, start with a welcome to the thirteen valleys of the English Lake District and a quote from William Wordsworth’s ‘Guide Through the District of the Lakes’ from 1810, followed by the names of the valleys and a map.
The first of the final six slate panels describes the history of Crow Park, of how in 1748 a plantation of tall oak trees was cut down and visitors from Keswick were able to see a vast new panorama of mountains and lake framed by woodland and fields. This new vista attracted tourists, artists and writers including poet Thomas Gray who recorded his visit to Crow Park in 1769 in his travel journal. Extracts from this journal are carved onto the following five plaques.
The team of artisan stonemasons at Honister Slate Mine worked closely with local stone lettercarver Pip Hall to translate her designs onto the slate. Commissioned by the Lake District National Park Partnership, Pip created the design and font for the inscriptions, choosing a fluid, flowing italic style to contrast with the sans serif Helvetica used on the UNESCO plaques, and to express a sense of celebration of the heritage status. The designs were sent to master craftsman Graham Robson and local Keswick trainee Ricki Pattinson at Honister to be sandblasted onto the polished slate panels. With over 20 years’ experience working with slate, Graham helps the trainees learn the mix of traditional skills and modern techniques employed in the workshop.