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Historic Gardens: Research in Action


Ham_House_2007The IHR is delighted to announce  the launch of this new course, which provides an introduction to how archival research findings on historic gardens can contribute to garden restoration, conservation and management. Taught on Tuesday mornings (11.00-13.00), Historic Gardens: Research in Action adopts a case-study approach to the exploration of these relationships through a combination of lectures, seminar-based discussions and site visits.

 Course details

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. The results will be a well-referenced report that describes chronological design overlays and planting and may identify the garden as of significant historic interest. This short course takes 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 is 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.

See here for full details, and to register

MA Landscape and Garden History


Wisley_EntranceInterested in gardens as landscapes?  Take a look at the new MA Landscape and Garden History at the IHR.

The course starts this Autumn, running every Thursday (10am-5pm) with the first session on 2 October.  The lecturers are all well-respected academics in their fields and include Brian Dix (archaeology), Paula Henderson (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries), Sally Jeffery (Italian Renaissance and French seventeenth-century gardens), Michael Symes (eighteenth century), Rebecca Preston (interwar suburban gardens) and Brent Elliott (plant collectors and garden designers) and Barbara Simms who will be teaching American gardens and twentieth- and twenty-first century gardens.

The third term will be devoted to dissertation writing under the supervision of an appropriate academic.

Teaching will be undertaken at the Institute of Historical Research, but with practical sessions at Museums and libraries as well as visits to gardens in and around London including Chiswick House, Garden Museum, Tate Britain, British Museum, Painshill Gardens and Wisley.  There will be an optional overseas visit to Italy for those that wish to take it.    There will be a strong emphasis on tutor/student interaction in class. Visit

You may also be interested in the ‘History of Gardens and Landscapes’ seminar at the IHR, and there’s a handy guide here to the IHR Library’s collections on Garden History here.