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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New Research on Chinese Gardens: 26th – 27th October 2017

An international garden history conference, organised by The Gardens Trust, will take place in Sheffield  this coming autumn. For full details and booking visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/new-research-on-chinese-gardens-two-day-international-conference-tickets-31580628510


A new book – on public parks – has been added to the Garden History Publications page.

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EXHIBITION Parks – Our Shared Heritage

27th July to 11th August 2017 10.00am – 5.00pm (except August 3rd closing at 12.30pm), at The Mall Galleries.

A collaboration between The Royal Parks, the Office of Public Works and the Hearsum Collection the exhibition will reveal how parks have gradually evolved to meet ever changing needs. http://www.mallgalleries.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/parks-our-shared-heritage

COURSE Discovering Victorian Gardens

A further course has been added to our Other Garden History Courses page. The course will run on six Friday afternoons from 15th September to 20th October.  Only 12 places are available so early booking is advised. The course will be led by leading expert on Victorian Gardens Dr Brent Elliott.

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JUNE Update II

Nine new courses have been added to our Other Garden History Courses page. Although not taking place until autumn 2017 or in 2018 all are now open for booking.

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June Update

“Gardeners’ World at 50”

A new exhibition is now open at RHS Lindley Library. Entitled Gardeners’ World at 50 the exhibition will run until 18th August. Tracing the history of this long-running TV programme the exhibition explores the programme’s influence on the development of gardening over the past 50 years. For more information visit https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/viewevent?EFID=412&ESRC=CMS

LECTURE: The 18th Century English Landscape Garden as a Work of Art

Wednesday, 19th July at 11.00am. Painshill

Long-standing volunteer and guide, Bill Tomlins, will explore the ideas that promoted the new naturalistic style of gardening that emerged during the eighteenth century. He will compare this to earlier gardening styles and the influence from prose, poetry and art that were then reflected in the landscape at Painshill.

This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about Painshill and the influences that surrounded the creation of this historic landscape.

The Lecture is free but ADVANCED BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL http://www.painshill.co.uk/the-18th-century-english-landscape-garden-as-a-work-of-art__trashed/

Also more information is now available about the Painshill September conference posted in our April Update The Temple in the Garden which will explore Italy and the English Landscape Garden. http://www.painshill.co.uk/conference/


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MAY Update

BGHG Garden Visits

Booking is now open for BGHG Members only for the June visit to Gloucestershire gardens and the 3-day visit to Yorkshire Gardens in September. Visit information and booking forms have been circulated to members.

Advance notice of Outside Events

The Life and Curiosity of Hans Sloane, British Library Knowledge Centre,  Tuesday, 6 June 2017  19.00 -20.30. Physician, natural historian and man of letters, Hans Sloane, whose collections formed the core of the British Museum, Natural History Museum and British Library, was a key figure in the early development of the Chelsea Physic Garden. For more information and booking  http://www.bl.uk/events/the-life-and-curiosity-of-hans-sloane

Celebrate Jane Austen Day, Sunday, 16 July,  10.00 -16.00, Painshill, Surrey. The day will feature an ‘Austen Trail’ through the follies in which actors will perform cameos of Jane Austen readings, Regency Dancing in the Amphitheatre, period music and an historic re-enactment group in the meadow, and games such as hopscotch, ball games and archery taster sessions. The Painshill landscape team are working on presenting vegetables and flowers of the time in the Kitchen Garden and using them in the Tea Room to provide authentic 18th century refreshments. Further information http://www.painshill.co.uk/jane-austen-day/


Potted, RHS Lindley Library, until 19 May, Monday -Friday 10.00 – 17.00.  Admission Free. In celebration of the humble houseplant this exhibition presents a series of designs by students from Central Saint Martins college.  For more information visit https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/viewevent?EFID=203&ESRC=CMS


Gardens in the time of Jane Austen, a lecture by garden designer Marie Louise Houghton, Tuesday, 20 June, 11.00 -12.30 at Painshill, Surrey. Further information and booking http://www.painshill.co.uk/gardens-in-the-time-of-jane-austen/


The IHR History of Gardens and Landscapes Seminar on 15 June, 13.30 -17.30,  will take the form of a visit to Kew Gardens to learn about and view the restoration of the Great Pagoda and Queen Charlotte’s Cottage. Kew FLYER 27.4


Two new books, both due for publication in May, have been added to the Publications page.  One focuses on London’s street trees; the other on ‘sound and scent ‘ in the garden.


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April 2017

Advance Notice of Painshill Conference

The Temple in the Landscape: Italy and the English Landscape Garden

Painshill are holding a conference to celebrate the completion of the reconstructed Temple of Bacchus, on Wednesday 20 September.  Six speakers will explore the influence of Italy – classical, Renaissance and 18th Century – on the English Landscape Garden.  The day will conclude with a glass of Painshill wine taken in the Temple.  Details will be available later in the year from the website http://www.painshill.co.uk

Five new book titles due to be published in April have been added to our publications page

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March Extra II

The Oxford Literary Festival: 25 March – 2 April 2017

Amongst the wide range of writers appearing at this year’s Oxford Literary Festival are three in particular that may be of interest to garden historians:

25th March: Dan Pearson on ‘Natural Selection: A Year in the Garden’

26th March: John Phibbs on ‘Place Making: The Art of Capability Brown’

30th March: Michael Heseltine on ‘The Creation of an English Garden’

For full details and booking information visit http://oxfordliteraryfestival.org/authors/2017

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