logocolour bestWelcome to the Birkbeck Garden History Group web site. The group is interested in studying garden history through lectures, garden visits and exhibitions and in encouraging others to become interested in the subject of garden history. Click on the links along the top of the page to find out more about the BGHG and our activities. Click ‘Follow’ at the bottom of this page on the right to receive alerts when new items are posted.

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March Update II

A major new exhibition “From the World War One Battlefields.& into the Peace”

Friday 29 March – Sunday 31 March 2019 open 10.00 – 16.00 at Wren House, Royal Hospital Chelsea, Royal Hospital Road SW3 4SR. (Enter by the Chelsea Gate located adjacent to the National Army Museum).

This free exhibition – presented by The Royal Parks Guild Guild in partnership with The Royal Parks, the Royal Hospital Chelsea and the 10th Essex Living History Group – traces events that took place in the Royal Parks and the Royal Hospital Chelsea during World War 1 and its immediate aftermath; describing, through images, living history and commemoration, the role that Royal Parks and the Royal Hospital played during and after the First World War.
During the exhibition it is proposed to have “thirty minute” talks held in the visitor centre at 2pm on each day. Guest speakers, from The Postal Museum, Historic Royal Palaces and the London Parks and Gardens Trust, will present talks on subjects such as “The Home Depot, The Regent’s Park”, a sorting office where all of the post to and from the western front was processed; the making of the emotional Battlefields to Butterflies exhibit at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show in 2018 and; “The Shrine Movement” that inspired an iconic shrine to be erected in Hyde Park in 1918.

ALL are welcome. For further information https://www.trpg.org.uk/

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March 2019 Update

REMINDER: The Birkbeck Garden History Group annual Study Day – open to both members and non-members – takes place on Saturday, March 16 at the Institute of Historical Research in Bloomsbury.  Full details can be found on our Future BGHG Events page

At our AGM on February 21, a new committee for 2019 was elected and we welcomed two new members – details can be found at BGHG Committee.

Several Outside Events have been added to our site. These include three exhibitions: on Islamic Gardens, Hidden Horticulturists and Emma Tennant’s Botanical Drawings.

New items added to our Garden History Lectures and Talks page include two garden history talks at the Oxford Literary Festival which this year runs March 30 – April 7; and an afternoon study session on May 3 at the RHS Lindley Library on Japanese Garden design.

On our Publications page you will find a three new books on Japanese Gardens due to be published between now and May including one by Monty Don designed to complement his recent BBC2 TV programmes on Japanese Gardens. Four other books explore the histories of Kiftsgate Gardens in Gloucestershire, The English Landscape Garden (by BGHG president, Michael Symes), London as a Forest, and – complementing the exhibition at RHS Lindley Library, a book about gardeners who over the centuries have been trained by the RHS and influence how we garden today.


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February Update II

BGHG is pleased to present its latest publication: Digging Deeper

Image – Courtesy: Surrey History Centre

Digging Deeper, edited by Barbara Simms, is Birkbeck Garden History Group’s third publication of postgraduate research papers, drawn in this volume from the dissertations of MA students at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London. Topics range from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century and cover types of circuits in eighteenth-century gardens; John Hay and his search for an improved glasshouse heating system; the use women social reformers made of gardens to improve the lives of the poor; gardening in schools; the French gardening craze of the early twentieth century; and the influence of professional gardeners on two historic gardens.

For full contents and how to order visit our Garden History Publications page

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February Update

Our 2019 programme starts on Thursday, 21 February with our AGM, Lecture & social evening. Members should have received their invitation and AGM papers during January.

New for 2019 is a BGHG Film evening: open to both members and non-members there will be a showing of the much acclaimed film ‘Turn End’ at The Gallery, Cowcross Street on Friday evening 1 March. Full details and booking information are on our BGHG Future Events page.

Also in March our Annual Study Day – also open to both BGHG members and non-members – will explore Music & Gardens. See BGHG Future Events for full details and booking information.

On the BGHG Future Events page you will also find details of all the garden visits we are planning for the coming year. Most of the dates are already finalised and the few that still await confirmation will be added in due course.

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January Update III

A number of upcoming events have been added to the Outside Events page:

Visit to Sloane Herbarium at the Natural History Museum

Friday, February 8 from 13.45 – 16.00 This visit has been arranged as a follow-up to a study day held last December at Fulham Palace Nature’s Wonders: Mary Somerset, Duchess of Beaufort, and the Circle of London Plant Collectors in the Later 17th Century and Beyond.  All are welcome – you do not need to have attended the study day to participate. Full details can be found on the Outside Events page.

Garden Tales of Strawberry Hill House with Alan Titchmarsh.

Thursday 14 February 2019 10.30 -14.00 
Strawberry Hill invites you to spend Valentine’s Day with Alan Titchmarsh, Strawberry Hill’s Honorary Patron, who returns to the ‘little Gothic castle’ in Twickenham to explore the fascinating role of the garden throughout the history of the house. Full details and booking information on our Outside Events page

Spring Tree Walks

Saturdays 13.00 – 15.30 March 2, March 23 and April 27 Three independent walks, led by Landscape Horticulturalist Letta Jones,  will visit The Outer Circle of Regent’s Park, the Square Mile of the City of London, and Regent’s Park Inner Circle

Three independent walks, led by Landscape Horticulturalist Letta Jones,  will visit The Outer Circle of Regent’s Park, the Square Mile of the City of London, and Regent’s Park Inner Circle. Full details on our Outside Events page

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January Update II

Repton Revived: a Landscape Gardener’s Legacy and Influence

Thursday 31 January 10 am – 5 pm

The Garden Museum are holding an international symposium in partnership with the Paul Mellon Centre on Humphry Repton. Twelve speakers will explore how Repton’s influence lives on. See https://gardenmuseum.org.uk/events/repton-revived-the-landscape-gardeners-legacy-and-influence/ for further details.

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January 2019 Update

Happy New Year!

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Coming soon will be details of the BGHG 2019 Garden Visits programme which, following our very successful visit to Yorkshire Gardens in 2017, will include a 3-day visit to a varied and interesting range of gardens in Dorset. Based in Sherborne this is projected to take place 17 – 19 September.

Watch out too for details of a forthcoming BGHG film evening when you will be able to see Turn End: The Home and Garden of Architect Peter Aldington (2017, Director, Murray Grigor; Director of Photography, Hamid Shams). The film received its first screening in London at The Garden Museum in November and will be of particular interest to BGHG members as Turn End is one of two gardens we will be visiting in June this year.

The BGHG AGM will be held on Thursday 21 February 2019

OPEN TO ALL the BGHG Study Day will take place on Saturday 16 March 2019

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