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January 2021 Lecture

-by ZOOM

The Elephant in the Garden - Dr. David Marsh 

Wednesday, 20th January at 2pm

In conjunction with the Gardens Trust

Forget about the elephant in the room and think about the elephant in the garden instead …

Believe it or not there have been elephants in gardens in Britain since at least 1255.  Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I and James I also had pachyderms but kept them in a menagerie in the Tower of London. The Tower menagerie remained open until 1831 when the few remaining animals were moved to Regent Park. There was no elephant so the new zoo quickly bought two as an attraction. 

Meanwhile, from the mid-18th century, menageries became a ‘must-have’ feature on many landed estates, the length and breadth of the country, although elephants were still a rarity. Perhaps the best known example was at Chiswick House where the Duke of Devonshire was given Sadi the elephant, and kept her along with many other exotic animals in the grounds. He even introduced her to the Tsar of Russia.

And if you thought it was a bit eccentric to keep an elephant in the garden how would you feel about having a mechanical one instead?

This is another chance to hear the very popular talk that David gave for the Gardens Trust.

DAVID MARSH is a popular speaker about historic gardens. After a career as a head teacher in Inner London David took very early retirement. He returned to education on his own account and was awarded a Ph.D for a thesis on “The Gardens and Gardeners of Later Stuart London” in 2005. Now he organises courses about garden history and lectures extensively, and has taken the lead in running Zoom lectures for the Gardens Trust in 2020. He is Chairman of the Education Committee of the Gardens Trust, and writes a weekly garden history blog for them:

Booking: Book online by clicking the 'Book Now' button. The tickets are FREE for BGT members and £5 for non-members. We will send you a Zoom link for the lecture a few days before the 20th January. The lecture will last approximately 1 hour, followed by questions.


Queries: Please contact Janet by email at; or phone Fiona Hope on 0118 984 3504 for queries about the lecture.

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