Busy Lizzie

Trea Martyn describes how urban living and a historical oasis in the capital inspired her interest in garden history, and in Elizabethan gardens in particular.

Like every other inhabitant of London, I appreciated its parks and squares and tried to live within walking distance of a green space. But the real starting point for me came when I was living in Shoreditch, East London, overlooking a canal though miles from any park. A few minutes down the Kingsland Road, however, in the midst of takeaways, restaurants and shops, stood the Geffrye Museum, a domestic interiors museum located within eighteenth-century alms houses surrounded by spacious grounds planted with ancient plane trees. At the side, a path led to a walled herb garden centred on a bronze fountain.

I was in my second year of a PhD investigating how Alexander Pope’s dealings with his powerful patrons enabled him to become one of the few poets to have made a fortune from writing poetry. In between writing chapters of my thesis, I went for walks in the City, finishing with a stroll around the grounds of the Geffrye Museum. Here I would sit, beneath a canopy of jasmine, listening to the fountain and enjoying the scents of the herbs.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email digital@historytoday.com if you have any problems.