Historic gardens: research in action

The Bloomsbury Squares are a major grouping of historic gardens dating back to the late 17th century (the earliest is Bloomsbury Sq) with others developed in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Researching the history of a garden or landscape is an absorbing and exciting activity that draws together documentation, maps, paintings, horticulture and other information to tell the story of the garden’s development and the people involved in its creation.

A new short course at the Institute of Historical Research in Russell Square will take researching a garden’s history a stage further by a consideration of how these findings can contribute to a garden’s restoration, conservation and management. It also provides a practical understanding of the range of methodologies currently employed in the identification, protection and care of historic parks and gardens in the UK.

 Examination of these issues will be made through case studies chosen as examples of gardens restored to different historic periods and under different types of ownership and management. Visits will be made to the seventeenth-century formal gardens at Ham House (National Trust), the eighteenth-century landscape garden at Painshill Park (Painshill Park Trust), and the early twentieth-century garden of plantsman E. A. Bowles at Myddelton House (Lee Valley Regional Park Authority). Sources of evidence for restoration and plans for garden management will be studied in both classroom sessions and with expert guides during site visits.

 The course is organised as a term of eight weekly sessions, five to be held in the IHR on Tuesday mornings (11.00-13.00) and three on site visits. There is no formal assessment, but students are expected to contribute to seminar discussions following site visits. The course is open to all who are interested in exploring the practical application of garden history research

See http://www.history.ac.uk/research-training/courses/historic-gardens-research-action for more details.

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