by Gillian Mawrey and Linden Groves

Publisher: Frances Lincoln (2010)
ISBN 978-0711-227712

Hardback £25

This is a book that reminds the reader how far garden history has advanced in recognition over recent decades. With this increased awareness of the historic importance of many heritage gardens grew a kindred sense of their social value at many levels. The importance of conserving historic gardens through preservation and their re-creation through restoration became understood as being as necessary as the conservation of other historic features in our landscape. Disciplines such as garden archaeology buttressed the work of archivists in research efforts, whilst practical processes of sympathetic management became more formalised at many historic gardens.

English Heritage has been one of organisations at the forefront of this positive change. This book introduces the gardens cared for by this public body and its work to balance the need of conservation, public access and education.  In coffee-table format, it has many current and archive photographs accompanying the history of many English Heritage gardens. These accounts range from the high Victorian pleasure gardens of Osborne House through the grounds of the romantic ruin of Old Wardour Castle in Wiltshire to the landscape park of Chiswick House in London. Let us hope, with massive public spending cuts looming, that the work of English Heritage in conserving some our finest garden heritage is not compromised.

Colin Skelly