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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July update II

New to the study of garden history?

If you are interested in finding out more about the history of gardens over time then you couldn’t have a better introduction than joining a Garden History Grapevine Taster Day: AN INTRODUCTION TO GARDEN HISTORY IN 10 OBJECTS. This is a fun day which brings together hands-on examination of garden history related objects, lectures and a garden visit. Follow this link for full details of the content, time, venue and how to register.

Interested in understanding more about Humphry Repton, during the year that marks the 200th anniversary of his death?
If you are intrigued by the plethora of new books (see Publications page) gradually emerging this year about a man whose name and reputation was hitherto familiar to only a few, but is now the subject of daily tweets, with study days, conferences, walks and talks taking place across the country during 2018: then REPTON IN CONTEXT may be the course you are looking for. Sign up now to be sure of your place – full details can be found here

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Three conferences – Twickenhamshire Revisited, being held at Strawberry Hill House;  The Life and Work of Humphry Repton, which is part of the Ashridge House Summer School and The Picturesque Garden in England (2019), have been added to our Outside Events page .


New courses have been added to our Short Courses and Longer Courses  pages. Topics range from Oxford College Gardens, and English houses & gardens and what gives them their Englishness; to Tuscany gardens, and villas and garden of the Italian city.


This past month has seen the publication of a plethora of new books on Humphry Repton and his work, with more in the pipeline. Already available are books focusing on Repton’s work in London, Yorkshire, Hertfordshire and Norfolk. Full details can be found on our Publications page.

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June Update II

Garden History Courses 

Please note that the dates and a booking link for Picture Perfect: Gardening in the Age of Revolution (1780-1818) have been added to our Longer Garden History Courses page, and a further date and venue for the 11-day GARDEN HISTORY IN TEN OBJECTS has been added to our Garden History Short Courses page


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June 2018 Update

New website pages: regular readers will notice that we have made some changes to our pages. We have separated out Short Garden History Courses (i.e. day, weekend or 2-3 days midweek) from Longer Garden History Courses and moved lectures, talks and seminars away from Outside Events to a new Lectures and Talks page: all three pages are to be found under a renamed Garden History Studies page. Outside Events will continue to feature exhibitions, Open Days, Festivals, etc.

The good news is that we have been prompted to do this because of the growing number of varied opportunities to learn about garden history.

Garden History Blog
Please note that David Marsh’s weekly garden history blog, formerly hosted by Parks & Gardens UK, has now moved to http://thegardenstrustblog.wordpress.com. In all other respects it remains the highly readable, informative and interesting blog as before.

Garden History Courses
Four new courses, all starting in September 2018 (but book now to be sure of a place!), have been added to our Garden History Studies pages:

The first three courses are being run by The Garden History Grapevine
INTRODUCTION TO GARDEN HISTORY – Saturday 22 September 2018. See Short Garden History Courses page

PLANTS IN GARDEN HISTORY – Tuesdays from 18 September – 4 December 2018

REPTON IN CONTEXT – Thursdays from 20 September – 6 December 2018

The fourth is being run by The City Literary Institute in Covent Garden
PICTURE PERFECT – dates to be announced

Further details on these longer courses can be accessed on our Longer Garden History Courses page.

New Books
Two new books due to be published in June has been added to the Publications page

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MAY 2018 Update

A New Fountain – recognition of the importance of our landscape

Devotees of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown will be delighted to hear the latest news from Johnny Phibbs that “On 29th May Capability Brown is to be commemorated with a fountain in the cloister garth at Westminster Abbey. This is not just the honour due to a great man, it also represents a final recognition by the establishment of the importance of landscape in our national culture and life.” . Credit to Johnny for pursuing this dream and to Alan Titchmarsh for helping to make it happen.


Seven new books due to be published during May have been added to our Publications page.

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APRIL 2018

Two new books have been added to our Publications page

SEMINARS: History of Gardens and Landscapes – Summer Term
On our Outside Events page you will find details of the seminars being held April to June 2018 at the Institute of Historical Research (IHR), University of London. These are OPEN TO ALL and FREE to attend.

Also on the Outside Events page are details of Cultivating Taste: The Art of the English Garden, Greenwich and Beyond, a summer lecture series taking place at The Queen’s House, Greenwich; and the LPGT Annual Summer Lecture which will take place on 11 June immediately after the Trust’s Annual General Meeting.

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March Update II

Nine new courses – taking place during 2018 and/or 2019 at Denman College in Oxfordshire – have been added to our Other Garden History Courses page. All are open for booking,

Topics include the History of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; Gardens of Delight (Rousham, Broughton Grange, Boughton House and Sezincote); More Famous Gardeners (‘Capability’ Brown, Humphry Repton, Vita Sackville-West); Arts & Crafts Gardens (Hidcote and Snowshill Manors); Oxford College Gardens; London’s Royal Parks; Follies, Temples and Grottoes (including a whole day visit to Stowe Landscape Gardens); and the History of Basildon Park house and gardens.
Further details are available here


Each day comprises a morning class at the Institute of Historical Research (IHR), University of London, and an afternoon visit.

8 May ASHRIDGE – tour led by Head Gardener, Mick Thompson
22 May CHELSEA PHYSIC GARDEN – tour led by Letta Jones
5 June CRYSTAL PALACE – tour led by Chris Sumner, plus private visit to museum

For further details see our Other Garden History Courses page

An evening talk and a Study Day have been added to our Outside Events page

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