From Garden City to Green City: The Garden Museum finds a piece of heaven everywhere

By Culture24 Reporter | 07 September 2011
An image of a drawing for green gardens in an urban block of houses
Anthony Gross, South London (1935)© Anthony Gross, courtesy Garden Museum
Exhibition: From Garden City to Green City, Garden Museum, London, September 20 2011 – April 1 2012

The “guerrilla gardens” springing up from Sheffield to Sussex may not cut much of a surprise to Londoners. This is the city, after all, where the first “garden cities” emerged during 20th century town planning masterplans, envisaged by Ebenezer Howard and Dame Henrietta Barnett as leafy legacies for a brighter capital.

Green-fingered takeovers tend to take on the toughest of urban terrains, but Londoners were literally transforming bomb sites during the Second World War, decades after Victorian pioneers had resolved to improve ordinary living conditions in the aftermath of the industrial revolution.

Oases such as Jamie McCullough’s Meanwhile Gardens, in Kensington, can compare grim snapshots of brutalist blocks from 30 years with the community sprawls created their since.

And when the visionaries put their minds to prescient problems, they come up with ideas including a vertical Alpha Farm, launched at this year’s Manchester International Festival in a bid to solve the escalating problems within a food production circle finding it increasingly imperative to go local.

Art, photographs, drawings, maps and films tell the story, and figures including Terunobu Fujimori – the architect famous for Japanese “farming towers” – provide the inspiration.

  • Open 10.30am-5pm (10.30am-4pm Saturday). Admission £7/£6.
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