Type of installation: Pre and post event preparation and reinstatement
Location: Chelsea, London
Kestrel (Contractors) Ltd have successfully assisted the Royal Horticultural Society stage the Chelsea Flower Show with pre and post re-instatement works at the prestigious event.
Since 2006, sports ground contractors Kestrel have proven the diversity achievable with their specialist machinery and in-house labour team. On site a month before the start of the show, Kestrel were hired to excavate, seed and grade as well as generally maintain sections of the east and west football pitch (where the main marquee was located) as well as parts of the well known Renola Gardens situated behind the Chelsea Pensioners Hospital.
Kestrel, the only ground work contractors at the show began their work by protecting the existing mature trees in the gardens with fenced protection before excavating top-soil from the exhibitor’s floor space to enable them to prepare for the show. To avoid exhibitors using steps for the delegates to browse their display they instructed Kestrel to excavate and grade their land to ensure it was as flat and as inviting as possible. It is not unusual at the show that many displays are walked past if they have steps up to the flowers, so Kestrel graded display areas with their laser guided grading machines prior to the commencement of the show on Monday 18th May. The 300 tonne of spoil removed from the hospital gardens was then transported to a storage zone outside the near by Battersea Power Station and covered with a terram for the duration of the show.
The main marquee was erected above two full-size football pitches, one in particular being a good quality fibre sand pitch constructed back in 2006. Unlike the poor wet weather that occurred during the set-up last year Kestrel had hotter, drier conditions to contend with in 2009 which led to the pitch becoming hard, dry and dusty. Kestrel were therefore given the responsibility of implementing an irrigation system nightly to ensure the pitches were returned to their original condition once the event had finished on Saturday 23rd May.
At all times during the show Kestrel were ever present with an excavator and dumper truck should they be required by any of the exhibitors or show management. As well as this service Kestrel were on hand to water plants and generally offer peace of mind to all exhibitors should they require professional help.
The summer schedule at The Royal Hospital is a tight one. Once the Flower Show ends, Kestrel only has 2 weeks to prepare the grounds for another internationally recognised event, Mastrepiece London.
The demands for Masterpiece are quite different to The Chelsea Flower Show. A mock Tudor Mansion is constructed on the pitches for the exhibition where the lawns around the Renola gardens are manicured and prepared for considerable structure to be installed.
After another spectacular show comes to a close, the RHS handed the gardens back to Kestrel to return them to their original pre-show state. Kestrel started by scarifying and seeding the pitches under the marquee which had received little sunlight for the past six weeks before returning the stripped topsoil where required.