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The Obelisk

Words by Southern Green (landscape architects)

(Visualisation of proposed obelisk restoration in landscape setting)

The Obelisk is a Grade II Listed structure forming part of the landscape setting and historic narrative of the Grade II* Listed Canons House.

Constructed in 1822, to mark the successful sinking of a new well in a time of drought, the relationship and visual connection between the obelisk and Canons House have long been important. The 1823 watercolour of the obelisk shown overleaf shows the open landscape setting of the structure.

(Watercolour of obelisk 1823, Mitcham Borough Council)

Since round 2 it has been the design intention, as informed by the Conservation Management Plan (CMP), to reinstate this visual and physical connection while retaining and reinforcing the positive effects of the 1960’s garden setting to the obelisk. This is being done by the removal of the poor quality brickwall, constructed in the 1960s and by softening the boundary in this area by planting a new beech hedge, a continuation of the beech hedge planting along much of the length of the western boundary of the estate.

Also, a new scheme of ornamental planting is being undertaken as well as the repair of the obelisk and improvements to the surfacing, all combining to enhance the setting of this important structure.

In the short term this will create a more open south-western boundary but, as the planting and hedge boundary matures, it will provide soft enclosure while recapturing the picturesque filtered views through mature tree canopies between Canons House and the obelisk. Two new paths cut through the beech hedge, aligned to the obelisk, further reconnecting the structure to the grounds.

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