Some pictures of Shugborough Hall's Walled Garden (above and below), which started something of a revolution in food production when it was created in 1805/6. It's thought the original kitchen garden was located somewhere behind the Doric Temple in Shugborough's Park, but a combination of unsuitable growing conditions, and the fact that the family didn't want labourers cluttering up the view, led to a commission for architect Samuel Wyatt, who was tasked with designing a new Walled Garden half a mile from the house.
The brick walls were hollow and contained intermittent furnaces that created a sort of micro-climate, while a series of bothies provided accommodation for young, unmarried gardeners. A large heated greenhouse, where they grew pineapples, grapes and peaches, extended towards a central plunge pool (see below), used to capture rainwater for watering crops. Another hothouse was heated with steam and produced melons and cucumbers.
I live in the English cathedral city of Lichfield, which, despite having a population of fewer than 5,000 during the Georgian period, was home to many important artists and intellectuals including Samuel Johnson, David Garrick and Erasmus Darwin. I generally blog about the short 18th century (1715-1789), feisty Georgian ladies and Lichfield's 18th-century heritage. If you have any comments, feel free to email me at woffington [at] gmail [dot] com.
Virtually forgotten today, Margaret Woffington (also known as Peg or Peggy) would rise from humble origins to become one of Georgian London’s most famous actresses, sharing the stage with the likes of David Garrick and excelling in so-called ‘breeches roles’. Born around the year 1720 in Dublin, her childhood years were marred by the death of her father, which plunged her family into poverty. Having reputedly sold watercress barefoot in the streets of the Irish capital, she was soon talent-spotted by a tumbler known as Violante, who staged populist entertainments in booths around the city. Violante had a troupe of child actors called the Liliputians, and before long Woffington was making her debut as Polly Peachum in their version of The Beggar’s Opera. Moving to London, she gained plaudits for both her outstanding beauty and her talent – particularly in comedy – appearing at both Covent Garden and Drury Lane. Known for her quick wit and no-nonsense attitude, she had high-profile affairs with Garrick, Lord Darnley and Charles Hanbury Williams; she was also a generous benefactor, supporting her elderly mother and may even have endowed some almshouses in Teddington, where she had settled at the height of her success. She died, unmarried, in 1760, having suffered a long wasting illness, and is buried in Teddington's parish church of St Mary’s.
Step into the past...
Click on the shoes for a highlight from the archive.
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