Visitors to London’s Somerset House between 27 October 2015 and March 2016 will be able to walk through a magical elm grove which celebrates one of the country’s best loved and most mourned trees.
Stables and Lucraft’s spectacular theatrical Ulmus londinium installation in the New Wing, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, tells the story of London’s elm heritage over the centuries. It has been created for The Conservation Foundation and will culminate in National Tree Week (28 November – 6 December) with a weekend of events on 28 and 29 November 2015, supported by the Mayor of London.
An online elm heritage route map for smart phones guides cyclists and walkers beyond Somerset House on a tour of the capital’s central London elm heritage.
Sunday 29th November, 2pm. Free, just turn up.
Before Dutch elm disease swept through Britain, the elm was an everyday sight to Londoners. Its water resistant wood was used to underpin the arches of Old London Bridge, elm pipes carried water to the capital, Henry Vlll’s doomed queen Anne Boleyn was buried in an elm coffin, while thousands of lesser mortals met their end on the gibbet of the Tyburn elm. It was also a vital part of the capital’s biodiversity, with such rare wildlife as the White-letter hairstreak butterfly depending on it for survival.
The soaring, distinctive elm tree inspired great artists and poets including Johns Constable, Clare and Betjamin. Nowadays elm wood is greatly prized by wood carvers and turners for its interlocking grain, making it resistant to splitting and many sculptors, including Sir Henry Moore have utilised its grain.
The Ulmus londinium display will feature some of elm’s many uses from medieval London to the present day, including boats, chairs, coffins, waterpipes, wagon wheels and herbal remedies. It is the final part of The Conservation Foundation’s Ulmus londinium project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has been reminding Londoners of their elm history and has included 700 new plantings to regenerate London’s elm population. There will be a giveaway of elm saplings on Sunday 29 November as part of National Tree Week. Conservation Foundation director David Shreeve said,”It is wonderful to be able to celebrate London’s elm heritage in this historic building which is such a fine example of conservation.”
ACTIVITIES TO CELEBRATE NATIONAL TREE WEEK, Room G16, New Wing, Somerset House
Saturday 28 November from 2pm – Start of National Tree Week
Talks by artists and writers whose work features elm.
Sunday 29 November from 2pm
Working with elm wood and how to care for your elm tree.
There will be a giveaway of elm saplings to invited groups on Sunday 29 November. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Dates: 27 October 2015 – March 2016
Opening Hours: Daily, 10.00 – 18.00
Address: Room G16, New Wing, Somerset House, London, WC2R 1LA
Transport: TUBE: Temple, Embankment RAIL: Charing Cross, Waterloo
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