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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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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MARCH 2018

Two Gresham Lectures of interest to garden historians will take place this month

Wednesday, 7th March
6pm at the Museum of London
Palace, Park and Square: St James’s and the Birth of the West End
Simon Thurley, Visiting Professor of the Built Environment

Tuesday 13 March 2018
6 pm at Barnard’s Inn Hall
Architecture and the Edwardian Era
Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin, University of Kent

No reservations are required for these lectures. They will be run on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. Doors will open 30 minutes before the start of the lecture.
For further information visit our Outside Events page

New Books
TEN new books due to be published during March have been added to our Publications page. They include an autobiography, a pocket reference book, and books on gardens in London, New York, Paris, Provence and Japan. Of interest to anyone attending the BGHG Study Day on 17th March (see our February 2018 post below) will be Monty Don & Derry Moore’s new book on Paradise Gardens.

Information on the Historic Gardens Review has also been added to the Publications page

BGHG Committee

Details of committee members elected at the 2018 AGM can be found on our BGHG Committee page

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February III Update


Birkbeck Garden History Group Annual General Meeting Wednesday, 21 February 2018 at 18.30. Doors will open at 18.00.

The Council Chamber, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17, Russell Square, London, WC1 BDR. This is located on the corner of Russell Square and Bedford Way.

Following the business of the AGM there will be a talk by garden historian, Doreen Wilson on ‘John Hay (1758-1836) the Scottish Horticultural Architect’.

A new book, on Croome in Worcestershire, has been added to our Publications page.

Watch out too for a plethora of new books due to be published in March.

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February Update II

Exploring Garden History

A new course at RHS Lindley Library starts 2 March 2018 for 6 weeks https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/viewevent?EFID=920&ESRC=CMS

The RHS are also doing more library tours during the Early Spring Plant Show 13-14 February https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/viewevent?EFID=538&ESRC=CMS

A series of Walks, Talks and Workshops will take place at Chelsea Physic Garden in March and April https://www.chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk/Pages/Events/Category/walks-talks-and-workshops


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February 2018

Annual Study Day ~ The Paradise Garden ~ 17th March 2018
Always one of the highlights of our annual programme our Study Day this year is the perfect follow-up for anyone who may have watched Monty Don’s recent BBC2 television programmes on Paradise Gardens.

However, having seen the broadcasts is by no means a prerequisite to coming along to the Study Day which will examine the concept of the Paradise Garden, concentrating especially on Christian and Islamic traditions. It will be an opportunity to explore in depth elements which have travelled through the centuries and been used by a number of different cultures; and look at how such elements have been expressed in the design and development of gardens.

This event is OPEN TO ALL –  you do not need to be a member of Birkbeck Garden History Group.

To find out more or book a place download March 2018 Study Day programme or  visit https://bghg-paradise-garden.eventbrite.co.uk/



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