On Monday 18th September 2017 we visited the Tradescanti Gardens at Lambeth Palace.

A capacity crowd greeted the start of the second half of the Ward Club year with a private viewing at the renowned Tradescant Garden Museum, Lambeth.


The Museum, initially known as the Museum of Garden History and now shortened to the Garden Museum, was first conceived in the early 1970s after the church of St. Mary-at-Lambeth was deconsecrated in 1972 prior to its proposed demolition. It was due to the scholarship of John and Rosemary Nicholson that the tomb of John Tradescant, a 17th century Royal gardener, was formally identified and was the inspiration for the world’s first dedicated  museum of gardening.


The museum is housed within the recently renovated, improved and extended body of the former church and the members were entertained and regaled by the scholarship of the museum’s director, Christopher Woodward who expertly and concisely ushered the Club round the various exhibits ranging from Archbishop Laud’s tortoise to those paragons of television gardening ‘Bill’ and ‘Ben’ via the delights of those early gardening heroes, Percy Thrower, Gertrude Jekyll, Vita Sackville-West and Elizabeth von Arnim.


The museum has only recently re-opened after an extensive re-development and we were privileged to be able to have an insider’s guide to the exhibition areas. This included The Ark (the recreation of the Tradescant’s cabinet of curiosities) and the newly completed upper floor where a comprehensive exhibition about the history of gardening (rus in urbe being to the fore) had been recently rehoused.


After the tour we were wonderfully fed in-house by the museum's own catering staff before tottering off into the autumn dusk.

                                                           Neil Hitchens

Neil Hitchens & Phineas Pett portrait

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BSWC walk to see Botanical Art

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Christopher Woodward & BSWC in Nave

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Christopher Woodward talking to BSWC

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Photos by Paul Farmiloe

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