Georgian Town Gardens

Greening urban landscapes is nothing new, says Joyce Ellis, the Georgians were Greens too.

The process of urban development in Georgian England produced a landscape dominated by bricks and mortar as the built-up area of towns across the country first became more densely settled and then began to encroach upon the surrounding countryside. However, the attention paid to the great landscape gardens of the aristocracy has obscured the extent to which towns shared in what has been called the ‘garden revolution’ of the period. The heroic approach adopted at Blenheim or Stowe was obviously inappropriate in the much more restricted open spaces available in the towns, but even here nature could be manipulated to give pleasure to urban residents. Over two centuries before Ebenezer Howard popularised the idea of the ‘garden city’, John Evelyn was urging the transformation of Restoration London by extensive tree planting: contemporaries were well aware that ‘...most People love a Country Prospect, and are even pleased with the most narrow View of it’.

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