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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November 2020 Update

As the whole country faces a further period of lockdown some of the face-to-face activities listed on this website will not now be able to take place so you are advised to check with the relevant organisation to ascertain their plans.

Cambridge Institute for Continuing Education (ICE) has already decided to cancel all face-to-face teaching until at least April 2021.

There are, however, numerous talks and lectures already being delivered online: see our GARDEN HISTORY STUDIES pages for details. The BGHG Annual Lecture on Tuesday, 10 November will be delivered online as previously announced. There are still a few places available: booking information as sent out to members. Full details are available on our BIRKBECK FUTURE EVENTS page,

Answers to our October Gardens Quiz can now be found on the COVID-19 GARDENS QUIZ page.

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October III Update

The Museum of Walking is offering another Virtual Tree Walk on Thursday, 29 October 19.00 – 20.00

Explore the Urban Forest from Acton to Ealing will be led, as on earlier such walks, by Paul Wood, author of London’s Street Trees (2017 & 2020), London is a Forest (2019), the Great Trees of London map (2020) and his latest book London Tree Walks (2020).

For further information and for how to book a place visit our OUTSIDE EVENTS page.

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October II Update

This month we are pleased to announce the publication of a new book which showcases the squares and gardens of London’s Bloomsbury neighbourhood:

Recently published by the Association of Bloomsbury Squares and Gardens and written by Susan Jellis it is beautifully illustrated by original watercolours by Nick Andrew, supplemented by photographs taken by local residents. Bloomsbury’s Squares and Gardens traces the history of and brings to life this ‘leafy, atmospheric neighbourhood of garden squares, differing in size, shape and individual character but all bringing a rural ambience into the urban surroundings’. For full details visit our PUBLICATIONS page.

Also newly added on our LECTURES & TALKS page, a series of four Gardens Trust talks celebrating some of the country’s Unforgettable Gardens running throughout November on Tuesday mornings; and on our LONGER GARDEN HISTORY COURSES page, also from The Gardens Trust, a 6-week lecture series on The Medieval Garden. which will run for 6 weeks on Thursday mornings from 12 November.

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October 2020 Update

As we move into autumn and the prospect of further restrictions on social distancing there are nevertheless a number of online lectures and courses, as well as a few outside events, for us all to engage with.

First and foremost of these is our own BGHG Annual Lecture which has naturally undergone a few changes this year but we are confident will be equally interesting as those of previous years.

This year the lecture will be delivered online. There will be no charge for the event and attendance will be restricted to BGHG members although each member may also book a ticket for 1 non-member. Full details of the event and how to book will be circulated to members shortly.

Our October Gardens Quiz, together with answers to the September quiz, is now available on our COVID-19 GARDENS QUIZ page

On our LECTURES & TALKS page you will find details of the autumn term History of Gardens & Landscapes seminars at the Institute of Historical Research, all of which will be delivered using Zoom and take place on Thursdays 18.00 -20.20. On the same page you will also find details of talks at Denman’s College and at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

At PUBLICATIONS you will see details of four new books which range from a new work by Tom Williamson on Humphry Repton; reputedly the first book about the Wardian Case; an illustrated glossary of garden design; and a exploration of the work of Spanish landscape designer Fernando Caruncho.

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September II Update

More autumn and winter lectures

Further dates and topics have been added to the autumn/winter online lecture series being jointly delivered by The Gardens Trust & London Gardens Trust between October 2020 and March 2021; and a number of live events taking place at the Garden Museum during November – many postponed form earlier in the year, can now be seen at Garden History Lectures & Talks 

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September 2020 Update

With summer drawing to a close we seem to be looking forward to a range of Zoom-filled events in place of our usual autumn/winter gatherings. Amongst those added recently to our website is a series of talks being delivered through a collaboration between the London Gardens Trust and the national Gardens Trust. No wine or social interaction but as usual from both organisations some excellent speakers. Details of six talks being presented from October – December can be seen at Garden History Lectures and Talks

We will also be delivering the BGHG Annual Lecture via Zoom. This will take place on the evening of Tuesday 10 November when Toby Beasley, Head Gardener at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight  will be talking about the Restoration of the gardens at Osborne House. Further details will be announced here nearer the time.                   

Five new books due for publication in September have been added to Publications  

This month we again offer a Gardens Quiz, which, together with some clues and the answers to last month’s What Flower? quiz can be accessed, and downloaded at COVID-19 Gardens Quiz.

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August III Update

Great 20th Century Gardeners
Each week during September an established garden historian will bring to life the achievements of a different ‘great name’ in twentieth century gardening:

Percy Thrower – Advolly Richmond 

John Brookes –Barbara Simms

Rosemary Verey – Margie Hoffnung

Percy Cane – Jill Sinclair

Beth Chatto – Catherine Horwood

Each 90-mins. session will be held on a Tuesday morning, and will be delivered using Zoom.  For full details and to book your place 


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August II Update

The Garden Historians now have two new online course available for booking: The Unique Gardens of Portugal  and Gardens of the  Gilded Age.

Both courses will be taught using ZOOM and both start on Friday 25th September 2020 and will last for 10 weeks. For full details visit Longer Garden History courses.

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August 2020 Update

As lockdown gradually begins to ease – for now at least – some of our favourite venues, such as The Garden Museum, are beginning to re-open whilst others continue with online events or other activities which meet social distancing requirements. You will find details of an exhibition at The Garden Museum and three guided walks being organised by London Gardens Trust (formerly London Parks & Gardens Trust) during August – October at Outside Events.

 Only one new publication has been added to Publications but you can look forward to a plethora of new garden history books due is September. 

This month we have a different type of quiz – our What Flower? Quiz

This, together with answers to our July Garden Quiz can be found on the COVID-19 GARDENS QUIZ page

If you’re following development of the Camden Highline you may be interested in their latest report of progress and plans for the future Beyond the Pandemic


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July II Update

University of Cardiff have announced a number of short courses scheduled for 2020- 2021. These include:

The Garden and Culture: 10 weekly sessions starting Wednesday 30 September 2020. This course will be taught online.

The American Garden: 10 weekly sessions starting Wednesday 13 January 2021

The Twentieth Century Garden and Lifestyle 10 weekly meetings starting Wednesday 10 April 2021

 The Gardens Trust will be running a new course online: A Brief Introduction to Garden History on Thursdays 11.00 -12.30 for 8 weeks starting 6 August 2020

For fuller details of all these courses and how to book see Longer Courses

One new book, Persian Gardens and Pavilions by Mohammad Gharipour, has been added to our Publications page 


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