Tag Archives: Blogging Challenge

The National Theatre, a long time coming.

The establishment of a national theatre in Britain was a long affair. Given that the country is home to Shakespeare and other great early playwrights it might seem odd that it was only in the 1960s that the country finally had one… not a dedicated building, but a national theatre company. In 1847 Dramaticus (a […]

King’s Theatre and the pinball wizard

London may have many grand theatres but it doesn’t have a monopoly. Take the King’s Theatre in Southsea, Portsmouth. Grade II listed and designated as of national importance by the Theatre Trust, and a great example of Edwardian theatre architecture. Who designed it? Frank Matcham, the man who designed 150 theatres of which only 30 […]

Jackson Lane reincarnation from church to theatre

A theatre is a building. A place. Who decided it had to have a stage with three tiers? Or seat thousands? Why does it have to be purpose built? In small communities, where money is tight, and people have little spare cash, reusing buildings is a common solution. With declining church membership, many old churches […]

Her Majesty and Harold

To have a theatre named after you must be the height of achievement for anyone associated with the theatre. So I’ve two to share for you. Harold Pinter – Nobel prize winner, producer, playwright and actor – had a career that lasted fifty years. Famed for plays such as Sleuth, The Go-Between and The French […]

Zoological Gardens – flora and fauna side by side

Today is the last day of the A to Z challenge and the final instalment of my series on the history of gardens. I’m starting this post by looking at menageries. Now hang on as I guide you to the reason why it’s my Z post. ‘Menagerie’ was used in 17th century France to refer […]

Yew trees and the Sermon on the Mount

In St Cynog churchyard in Wales there is an old yew tree. It’s reckoned to be 5000 years old. Yews feature greatly in gardens and their longetivy is well known. But they are especially found in churchyards amongst the flowers, keeping the company of graves. Why? The yew is a coniferous tree from the family […]

Xylobium and the orchid house

For anyone who’s done the A to Z Challenge before will know that X requires considerable thought and creativity. Thankfully, the world of botany provides some useful Xs.  Today I introduce Xylobium, a genus of the orchidaceae family. There are 35 species and it is native to the tropical Americas. Here’s a picture. Orchideceae, or […]

Walled gardens – feeding the household

These days we call in at the grocers or supermarket to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables. Few of us are self-sufficient in producing food, unless you’ve a generous garden or access to an allotment. How did those big country houses of old cope with feeding dozens of people when they’d nowhere to shop? […]

Verey – a veritable gardener

In 1970 Rosemary Verey (1918-2001) opened her garden at Barnsley House to the public through the National Gardens Scheme. The scheme began in 1927 to support district nurses. For a small fee (and a cake and a cup of tea), visitors are given access to private gardens, usually a few days in the summer, and […]

Urban gardens – from allotments to public parks

Was the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in Mesopotamia (3500BC) the world’s first urban garden? Since its location is unknown, then its purpose is purely speculation. But there is evidence that Mesopotamian citadels had small farms, gardens and irrigation systems within their walls. The cultivation of gardens within cities and urban areas is ancient and well […]

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