The Doctor’s Garden: Medicine, Science and Horticulture in Britain  

Dr Clare Hickman – Reader in Environmental and Medical History at Newcastle University

 Tuesday 10th January 2023 – online

The Doctor’s Garden, Dr Clare Hickman – Yale University Press

As Britain grew into an ever-expanding empire during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, new and exotic botanical specimens began to arrive within the nation’s public and private spaces. Gardens became sites not just of leisure, sport, and aesthetic enjoyment, but also of scientific inquiry and knowledge dissemination. Medical practitioners used their botanical training to capitalize on the growing fashion for botanical collecting and agricultural experimentation in institutional, semi-public, and private gardens across Britain. This book highlights the role of these medical practitioners in the changing use of gardens in the late Georgian period, marked by a fluidity among the ideas of farm, laboratory, museum, and garden. Placing these activities within a wider framework of fashionable, scientific, and economic interests of the time, historian Clare Hickman argues that gardens shifted from predominately static places of enjoyment to key gathering places for improvement, knowledge sharing, and scientific exploration.

Clare Hickman is Reader in Environmental and Medical History at Newcastle University where her work focuses on the interconnections between landscape, health and sensory experience. She currently leads a number of projects including the Wellcome Trust funded ‘MedEnv: Intersections in Medical and Environmental Humanities’ network and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded ‘Unlocking Landscapes Network: History, Culture and Sensory Diversity in Landscape Use and Decision Making’. Clare is also Co-Investigator on the AHRC funded project, ‘In All Our Footsteps: Tracking, Mapping & Experiencing Rights of Way in Post-War Britain’ and a Natural Environment Research Council funded Treescapes project. Her previous books are Therapeutic Landscapes A History of English Hospital Gardens since 1800 (Manchester University Press, 2013) and The Historic Gardens of England: Northamptonshire (Stroud: Tempus, 2008), the latter of which was co-written with Timothy Mowl.