Museum of Garden History


After reconstruction of 7.5 million, the Garden Museum of London on May 22, 2017 reopens its doors.

Located on the banks of the Thames adjacent to the Lambeth Palace, the Garden Museum talks about the history and development of gardens and horticulture in the UK. Starting in May 2017, after the end of a large-scale reconstruction, visitors to the museum will be able to see the collection in The Ark Gallery. It is a “building in a building” with seven new rooms for the museum's collection - the restored Kunstkamera, assembled by John and John Tradescants (father and son). The collection of these gardening masters, renowned for their highly professional gardening for Charles I, became the heart of the Ashmolean Museum. A bronze extension was erected to frame the new garden created by Dan Pearson. Another replenishment is the Garden Wall (Garden Wall) - a striking installation consisting of more than 200 tiles with images of precious gardens. In a reproduction of a 17th-century garden full of flowers and shrubs of the time and located at St Mary’s cemetery, there are graves of famous 17th-century gardeners John Tradescants and Bounty captain William Bligh.

Lambeth Palace Road (LambethPalaceRoad),South Bank (SouthBank),LondonSE1 7Lb

Open daily from 10.30 to 17:00 (Saturdays from 10.30 to 16:00)

Entrance fee: £ 7.50 (standard ticket), £ 6.50 (senior citizens), £ 3 (students), FREE entry (children under 16)

Photo and description

The Garden Museum is located right at the entrance to the Lambeth Bridge. This is a touching, sad and useful place for tourists.

The museum is located in the former church of Saint Mary. The church, which for many centuries was almost a part of the Lambeth Palace (the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury), located nearby, in the second half of the 20th century were going to be demolished. She suffered during the war and stood abandoned. It would have been demolished along with its beautiful tower if in 1976 Rosemary and John Nicholson did not come here to inspect the church cemetery.

This ordinary married couple wanted to see the grave of royal gardener John Tradescant. Rosemary was so saddened by the sight of the boarded up church that she went to an appointment with the Archbishop of Canterbury. He said that Waterloo Station needs this place, but if Rosemary decides what to do with the church, let him try to reverse the decision of the authorities.

Rosemary came up with: to turn the church and the cemetery into the world's first gardening history museum. A simple housewife showed the organizer's talent - when in 1977 she founded the Tradescant Foundation, among her patrons were the Queen Mother and Prince Charles. In 1981, the museum opened the first exhibition.

The museum is small, although it is going to expand. Its main gallery is in the former nave. Garden tools of all ages are exhibited here (from Neolithic tools to the Victorian cucumber straightener), prints, photographs, gardening books.

Tradescant monogram is visible in the stained-glass windows. The 17th century royal gardeners Tradescantes (both called John) did much to develop horticulture in England. It is in their honor that Karl Linney called the well-known plant tradescantia. Both are buried here together with family members. The tombstone is amazing - it has a family coat of arms, a seven-headed dragon, a skull, ruins with pyramids. The epitaph at the top of the tomb - authorship of a friend of the Tradescantes John Aubrey. The verses say: when the angels sound, the Tradescant will rise to turn this garden into paradise.

A small memorial garden is really there. It was developed by the Marquis of Salisbury, including only those plants that are associated with the names of the Tradescantes. Here is the grave of Vice Admiral William Bly, captain of the rebellious Bounty ship. The inscription on the Blyu Monument recalls that it was he who brought the breadfruit from Tahiti to the West Indies.

The museum café offers al fresco dining. The vegetarian (sometimes vegan) menu is new every day; soups, pies, casseroles, salads use herbs and spices from a small museum garden, and freshly made cakes are served for tea. A great place to relax and recover from the hustle and bustle of the tourist.

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UndergroundVauxhall, Lambeth North, Westminster, Waterloo
Bus3, 344, C10, 77, 507

The Garden History Museum is housed in the former church of St. Mary's at Lambeth. The history of the museum begins in 1976, when the graves of two royal gardeners and plant hunters, the father and son of Tradescantes, dated to the 17th century, were found in an abandoned church cemetery. In memory of them, a museum was built on the site of the church, telling about the history of the development of English gardening. The museum stores one of the best collections of garden tools and antiques related to gardening. The public is also available an extensive collection of newspapers and magazines on gardening, but you can get to the specialized library at the museum by paying a small donation.

In the 1980s, on the site of the former church cemetery, a garden with flower beds in the style of the 17th century was laid out. The museum has a gift shop and cafe.