THE GEORGIAN VISITOR

‘A Vignette of Garden Visiting in the Eighteenth Century ‘

Summary of The Friends of St Anne’s Virtual Zoom Webinar Lecture 

TUESDAY  9th MARCH 2021

By RICHARD WHEELER 

THE FORMER NATIONAL SPECIALIST IN GARDEN HISTORY FOR THE NATIONAL TRUST

We were delighted to finally welcome Richard to give his wonderful lecture in March 2021 by Zoom Webinar. He was originally booked live in March 2020 just after the first lockdown started but that had to be cancelled. 

Richard was with the  National Trust for 43 years leading many major garden restorations, including Erddig and Chirk in North Wales, Stowe, Chastleton and West Wycombe, in England and Castle Ward in Northern Ireland. 

Richard’s knowledge and historical references are extraordinary, introducing us into how garden visiting started; how the beautiful catalogues began and created by Head Gardeners anxious to welcome visitors. Seeing the travelling routes to reach them and the local places for their lodgings that were created was fascinating! It certainly gave us all a taster to go garden visiting for ourselves when we can finally get and about once the lockdown is lifted. Richard used beautiful picture prints and images to demonstrate views of the wonderful gardens and routes out of London to reach such places as Stowe. 

  • A special thanks to Uta Thompson – a friend of Richard & his Wife who kindly introduced Richard to us. 

We welcomed around 100 people including those that watched it via the YouTube recording available for a week after the actual lecture.

Among those that we welcomed were: Buckinghamshire Garden Trust; Kew Horticultural Society; Chiswick Allotment Society; Kew Society Gardening Department; Kew Gardens Volunteers & Staff; Thames Luminaries; Turners House Trust; Kew WI; The Friends of St Anne’s Church; The Arts Society of Richmond and many others.

Several people put interesting questions to Richard via the Q&A and Chat button. 

We received positive feedback following the lecture – a few examples: 

  • ‘Just a quick note to say that I thought that the Garden Visiting talk was superb; witty, scholarly, polished and an engaging subject. What more can one ask? Thank you!’
  • ‘Just to say how much we enjoyed the. Webinar on Tuesday. 
    Thank you’ 

Richard is now running his own garden history consultancy, advising on practical garden restoration, and in running informal tutorials for the gardeners and garden restorers of the future. He lectures and writes regularly on the history and iconology of gardens, and their understanding and restoration. We wish him all success with his consultancy, I am sure he will be much in demand. 

Lorraine Neale –Chairman The Friends of St Anne’s –  March 2021