The Thames-side Gardens of Pope and Walpole's

Twickenhamshire

The Association of Gardens Trusts Weekend Conference

5th-7th September 2003
St Mary's College, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham

South view of Strawberry Hill (1775, Paul Sandby)

The Association of Gardens Trusts' annual conference was this year hosted by the LPGT.  It took place on 5-7 September 2003 at St Mary's college, Strawberry Hill, over a weekend which, despite threatening forecasts, produced only one shower, and that was while most delegates were inside Marble Hill House.

In the photo are (L to R)

  • Dennis Doe, Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
  • Gilly Drummond, President of the AGT
  • Barbara Simms, Chair of the LPGT
  • Nicki Urquhart, Mayor of the London Borough of Richmond and Twickenham

The Visits

A warm and fine three days enabled some ninety delegates to enjoy visits to

  • Richmond Hill, for its stunning views,
  • the riverside walk along to Marble Hill and Orleans House,
  • York House with its over-the-top statuary in a pseudo-Renaissance fountain
  • Pope's grotto
  • Radnor Gardens with its summerhouse and bath house (new to many),
  • Garrick's riverside lawn dominated by the Shakespeare temple and
  • Hampton Court House with its rococo ensemble culminating in the shell grotto.

There were also tours of Strawberry Hill house itself, and an optional visit to the Privy Garden at Hampton Court at the end. A 'special' was the very rare opportunity to walk through Garrick's under-road tunnel at Hampton.

The Lectures

The lectures were tied closely to the visits and also, of course, to the theme of the weekend.

The conference, to judge from comments during and at the end, was a great success from its opening reception at York House, and the programme had several surprises and new information and sights even for those who thought they knew the area well. With special thanks to the organisers of the conference, Barbara Simms, Katy Myers, Chris Sumner and Imogen Magnus, for putting together a memorable programme and the associated literature.