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 2017 Update



Come and hear Cherrill Sands, Garden Historian and former Director of the Painshill Trust, talk about the recent restoration of Painshill Landscape Garden.

The lecture will take place at 18.30 (doors open 18.00) on Wednesday, 22 November and will be held at The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17, Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DR. (The Institute is located on the corner of Russell Square and Bedford Way).

Tickets are £14 for members, and £16 for non-members and at the door on the evening, space permitting. Tickets include a drink and refreshments after the lecture. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.  There will also a sale of second hand books.

For further information BGHG Annual Lecture 2017 flyer Painshill

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CONFERENCE: Landscape Now

30th November – 1st December 2017
Organised by the Paul Mellon Centre Landscape Now  will provide a major art-historical reassessment of the image of the British landscape.
The Building Centre, 26 Store St, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BT

Booking opens 10.00am Monday 2nd October.

Visit our Outside Events page for further information


Information on a new weekend course has been added to our Other Garden History Courses page:

Advanced French: Jardins anglais, jardins à la française
Not a French course but an opportunity to compare English landscape and French formal gardens – May 2018


New books, recently published or due for publication in October, have been added to our Publications page. Included are books on Joseph Banks’ botanical engravings, tea gardens, and an exploration of gardens that have inspired over the centuries .

A New ‘High Line’? 

If you are familiar with New York’s High Line (see Piet Oudolf’s book published in July this year on our Publications page) you may be interested to read more about a proposed London Highline: The Camden Highline which would run from the Kings Cross area to just north of Camden Town. Visit https://www.camdenhighline.com/#camdenhighline for more information.

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Gresham Free Lectures

This autumn, as part of the 2017-2018 lecture series, Professor Malcolm Andrews of the University of Kent will look at English Landscape: a sequence of three talks exploring how the distinctive personality of English landscape scenery evolved and was promoted by writers and artists.

All three lectures will take place at the Museum of London starting at 1.00pm.
Wednesday 25th October: English Landscape: The Picturesque

Wednesday, 1st November: English Landscape: Constable and Clare

Wednesday 8 November 2017: English Landscape: Samuel Palmer and the Pastoral

See Outside Events for fuller details

IHR Autumn Lecture Programme – Women in the Garden 

Visit Outside Events for the full programme of six early evening lectures or download the flyer IHR Autumn Programme 2017 

A new EXHIBITION – Codlings, Costards and Biffins

will open on Thursday, 7th September, 2017 at RHS Lindley Library, 80 Vincent Square, LONDON, SW1P 2PE.
Open weekdays 10.00 – 17.00 the exhibition will run until Friday, 10th November
To find out more about Codlings, Costards and Biffins visit Outside Events 

For more information about all these items visit Outside Events 

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RHS Wisley

RHS Wisley have expressed opposition to plans currently being finalised by Highways England to improve the M25 Junction 10 interchange and widen the A3. Although the RHS support in principle improvements to this road junction they believe it could equally well be achieved without the destruction of 500 trees and loss of 10,000 sq. metres of Wisley Gardens.

In their submission RHS Wisley state that current plans would not only result in the elimination of irreplaceable historic trees that are over 100 years old, potentially including five trees that are identified as threatened and endangered in cultivation by Plant Heritage’s Threatened Plants Project, but would also destroy the habitats of a wide range of wildlife and the beauty of the garden.. Excellent specimens of giant redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum) would also be at risk.

For further information about road improvement plans and to learn how you can support RHS Wisley in their opposition visit https://www.rhs.org.uk/Wisley-under-threat-from-A3-plans


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This Autumn Strawberry Hill house will be offering a course on the Arts and Crafts Garden. The talks, held in the historic rooms of the house will run weekly on a Thursday morning from 10.00-1.00 for 6 weeks (including half term) from Thursday 28th September to 9th November.  Cost £125.00.

See our Other Garden History Courses page for further details


New books by Piet Oudolf and Dan Pearson have been added to the Garden History Publications page


Details of the London Parks & Gardens Trust Winter Lecture series can be found on the Outside Events page


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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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