Wrest Park gardeners recreate 110-year-old photo of their predecessors

In 1903, a photograph and article on the Wrest Park gardeners appeared in The Gardeners' Chronicle, the forerunner of Horticulture Week.

Earlier this month, the English Heritage site's team recreated the scene on the orangery steps, with their modern machinery in place of the traditional horse-drawn tools shown originally.

Titled "Trusted Servants", the 1903 photo shows the garden staff of Earl Cowper, under the leadership of head gardener George MacKinlay. The accompanying article stated: "Taking into account the long term of service of many of the gardeners there depicted, it is very questionable if such a record can be excelled in any other nobleman's or gentleman's garden in the country. The combined services of the employees form a record of 391 years, several of the men having been employed in the gardens for the long period of 56, 53, 52, 32 years, and so down to two years. After such a length of faithful service, they are still active, intelligent and energetic, and seldom absent from their daily employment."

The current combined service of the full-time gardening team at Wrest Park is 148 years.


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