Lost Gardens of London

Todd Longstaffe-Gowan

Publication Date:
October 2024
224 pages: 240 x 170mm
130 colour and b/w images

  • Our fascination with historic, especially lost gardens is more than a mere wistfulness for the past or a vague longing for vanished paradise – it is often fuelled by our interest in reconstructing worlds that supply us with a powerful means of making sense of the past, and a way of reading history. London gardens, being frequently shut off from the continuum of everyday life around them and so allowing particular scope for individual experimentation, have readily encapsulated attitudes to the design and use of open spaces that now often seem eccentric and improbable.

    Lost Gardens of London focuses on and celebrates the evanescence of London’s vast and varied garden legacy. Todd Longstaffe-Gowan examines five hundred years of the capital’s garden spaces, ranging from the aristocratic, Thames-side gardens of the seventeenth century, princely pleasure grounds and artists’ gardens to the gardens behind terraced houses, humble allotments, defunct squares, amateur botanical gardens and aviaries, eccentric private menageries and the ecological gardens of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries – gardens that either no longer exist or are unrecognisable today. This beautiful and evocative book, illustrated with a fascinating variety of images, including watercolours, coloured engravings and historic photographs, seeks to remind us of what a precious asset gardened greenspace is, and how it has contributed over the centuries to the quality of life and well-being of generations of inhabitants of the Metropolis.

    The book accompanies the exhibition Lost Gardens of London, curated by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, at the Garden Museum, London, 23 October 2024–2 March 2025.

  • Todd Longstaffe-Gowan is a landscape architect with an international practice based in London. He is gardens adviser to Historic Royal Palaces, a lecturer at New York University (London), a founding member and president of the London Gardens Trust and the editor of The London Gardener.

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