Mine of Capability Brown research published online thanks to volunteer work

A substantial body of research about Lancelot 'Capability' Brown and his landscapes has been published by The Gardens Trust, after volunteers undertook a vast amount of painstaking research.

Dozens of volunteer garden historians worked on the project
Dozens of volunteer garden historians worked on the project

The research on 179 parks and gardens are now available to the public for free on the Parks and Gardens Trust website, a national web resource which provides database record information, educational articles and other resources on historic parks, gardens and designed landscapes in the United Kingdom.

The website gives free access to over 9,000 records for parks and gardens in the UK, including all sites where it is believed Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown was involved, up to 30% certainty.

The work was done by volunteers from the County Gardens Trusts as part of a national celebration in 2016 of the 300th birthday and the Capability Brown festival. County Gardens Trusts (CGTs) are locally-based charities caring for designed landscapes. They operate independently across England, but are all members of The Gardens Trust.  

A trust spokeswoman said: "In the 21st century CGTs have a vital role to play in the research, recording, history and conservation of our heritage. Increasingly, CGTs are an important and respected voice offering authoritative advice on historic designed landscapes in the modern world. And of course, they also provide a vibrant social group for those interested in parks and gardens, with a busy schedule of events and garden visits. In particular, County Gardens Trusts have been key supporters of the Capability Brown Festival."

Also featured in the records are more than 2,100 biographies of the people associated with historic parks and gardens references to books, maps and other online and print sources; and nearly 6,000 images of maps, plans, modern and historic photographs and images to better illustrate the landscapes.

The Gardens Trust ensures that garden history is 'on the map' as an academic subject, publishing the twice-yearly academic journal Garden History, which remains the leading forum for scholarly work in this area. It additionally takes an active conservation and campaigning role, with a small professional team of conservation officers employed to comment on developments affecting important gardens and designed landscapes.

As the statutory consultee for designed landscapes, it is informed of any proposals which may affect places listed on Historic England's Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest (graded I, II* and II).

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