We are thrilled to announce that the Garden Museum has been awarded a grant by Archives Revealed, funded by The National Archives, The Pilgrim Trust and The Wolfson Foundation, which will enable us to catalogue the Beth Chatto Archive and make it accessible to the public.
The Garden Museum is the UK’s only museum dedicated to the art, history and design of British gardens. In 2017 we opened the country’s first Archive of Garden Design, housing the archives of the most influential figures in British gardening of the 20th century. Thanks to the support of Archives Revealed, we will be able to catalogue one of the most significant collections we hold: the archive of Beth Chatto (1923-2018), one of the country’s most important gardeners and plantswomen, who became a household name for her ecological “Right Plant, Right Place” mantra.
Our cataloguing project will make her records accessible to the public for the first time – from garden and horticulture students to archive enthusiasts, and from school groups to landscape design professionals. Her archive is a treasure trove containing a wide array of works, including correspondence with Derek Jarman, Cedric Morris and George Harrison, Beth’s professional diaries, press clippings, plant lists for her commissions, invitations, awards, flower arrangements, financial materials, and much more, making it one of the most varied, diverse archives we hold, painting a full picture of who Chatto was and why she was so important to the history of British horticulture.
As the Garden Museum’s Archivist Rosie Vizor says “The Beth Chatto Archive is a founding collection of the Museum, integral in tying together other archives and objects in our collection through Beth’s wide network of high profile friends in the horticultural community. Being one of the first to donate her archive, she encouraged her friends to do so too. We are therefore so excited to be able to catalogue her archive and make it accessible to the public, improving the research potential of the Archive of Garden Design as a whole and attracting new audiences through Chatto’s prominence in the field. Since Chatto’s ecological approach to planting links really well to the GCSE science curriculum and horticultural courses, the newly catalogued material will form the basis of innovative outreach and engagement programmes. We can’t wait to get started!”
All photographs are taken from the Beth Chatto Archive.