Museum of Garden History

The text for this topic was taken from the Vauxhall Societies
"A guide to the church of St Mary-at-Lambeth, London"

by Rosemary Nicholson

The Tradescant Trust was founded as a registered charity in 1977 to establish in the heart of London the Tradescant Centre, a Museum of Garden History - the first of its kind - and to create a garden of unique historic interest. Once assured of the right support, the Trust believes that this venture will greatly benefit gardening of all kinds, and provide a place of pleasure and continuing interest. The Centre will complement the work of many organisations devoted to these activities and provide a convenient London home for many. It will be open to all visitors from this country and overseas.

Owing to a combination of factors, the church of St Mary-at-Lambeth has ceased to be needed for worship, and the church authorities have been willing to grant the Trust a long lease at a nominal rent to establish the Tradescant Centre. A prominent church architect has reported well on the structure of the building, and the project has already attracted the sup- port of leading nurserymen who have given plants for the Tradescant Memorial Garden, at present in the care of the London Borough of Lambeth. A team of volunteers also visits the churchyard regularly to help maintain it. From the start the venture has attracted lively enquiry and goodwill. The Friends of the Tradescant Trust was formed. The garden immediately came under the aegis of the Environmental Committee of the London Celebrations Committee for the Queen's Silver Jubilee 1976-77. In July of Jubilee year, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, who had early expressed her warm interest, visited the garden with members of the Civic Trust.

The Tradescant Trust has been offered a collection of material to form the nucleus of the First Museum of Garden History and many organisations have expressed their strong support for both the building and garden projects.

The aims of the Trust are:

The Trust needs the sum of �250,000 to fulfil its aims. An appeal was launched on 15th February 1978 and negotiations with the Church Commissioners resulted in the signing of a lease on the church in January 1979. Building repair work began almost immediately afterwards. There is still a long way to go, and your help is urgently needed.

Please also see the entry for Tradescants and for St Mary's Church.

Museum of Garden History Website