Women in Horticulture and Gladstone Park: A Park for the People – London Gardens Trust Research Group

Maria Precedo, Joanna Roll and Antonia Couling-Dini, LGT

Tuesday 12th October 2021 at 6pm on Zoom

Commonwealth Institute Copyright LGT Website

From Garden to Garden  – a look at women jobbing gardeners 1890-1920 – Maria Precedo

The jobbing gardener has traditionally had a precarious existence and a poor reputation.  But at the start of 20th century, when women began easing their way into salaried gardening via the new horticultural colleges, some women sought this type of work, seeing it as an opportunity to exploit.  This talk will look at the sort of women who became jobbers and the reasons why they took on such employment.

Searching for Sylvia in London: Sylvia Crowe (1901-1997), Garden Designer and Landscape Architect – Joanna Roll

Following in the footsteps of the early Twentieth Century jobbing gardeners, Sylvia Crowe started her career by studying horticulture. But within a few years of leaving college (in 1922) she had set her heart on becoming a garden designer. The path she followed, like those of the earlier jobbing gardeners, may be seen to reflect the times in which she lived. As winner of a Gold Medal at Chelsea in the 1930s, she may be judged a successful garden designer. But, not  content with that,  as the profession of landscape architect expanded after World War ll, she expanded her skills to cover landscaping on a vast scale:  around power stations, reservoirs and roads as well as in New Towns and forests, whilst not abandoning the occasional private garden, pretty courtyard or rose garden altogether. Although many of her grandest schemes were outside London, London was where she lived during her working life and where she based her practice. This talk will try to show that examining Crowe’s work from a London perspective can provide a useful entry to her way of thinking and to the diversity of her work.

Gladstone Park – A Park for the People  Antonia Couling-Dini (MA Student) 

Antonia Couling explores the history of the gardens at Dollis Hill House which is set within the 35 acres of Gladstone Park. During the last quarter of the 19th century the Dollis Hill estate was a favourite retreat of William Gladstone. Mark Twain also spent three months living there. The park came into existence in 1901, when the District Council bought the land as part of the Victorian drive to create more public parks for the better health of the population. Interesting additions were designed by District Council Surveyor Oliver Claude Robson during the first 10 years of the 20th century. The most recent historical works on Dollis Hill House and Gladstone Park were published 20 years ago, since which time much has taken place, including the demolition of Dollis Hill House and the addition of substantial public amenities. In the process of researching the park’s history, some factual errors in existing accounts have also come to light.

Gladstone Park Postcard

Maria Precedo and Joanna Roll are Members of the London Gardens Research Group.  The Group’s research into London’s parks, gardens and open spaces feed into the Trust’s Inventory of London Historic Spaces and the national Parks & Gardens UK resource.  Antonia Couling-Dini is completing her Masters in Garden and Landscape History at the Institute of Historical Research