James Pulham and Son are best remembered these days for the picturesque rock gardens, ferneries, follies and grottoes they constructed during the Victorian years. This was the time when tourists returning home from their ‘Grand Tours’ of Europe sought to create natural habitats in their gardens for the ferns and Alpine plants they had collected during their travels. Hence the fashion for rock gardens and ferneries, and, if natural rocks were not economically available, the Pulham craftsmen would ‘make their own’ by building up heaps of rubble and old bricks, and coating them with their own proprietary brand of cement that soon became known as Pulhamite. The craftsmanship of the ‘rock builders’ lay in their ability to sculpt the surfaces to simulate the colour and texture of natural rock.
As garden fashions gradually evolved through the Edwardian years, the Pulhams extended their portfolio to include grand, formal balustraded terraces, and thence to Italian and Japanese-styled gardens that were becoming increasingly popular with the ‘travelling gentry’.
These pages are only intended to illustrate the many facets of the work carried out by James Pulham and Son throughout the 100 years or so during which they were In business. They are not comprehensive, because the full story of the lives and work of this fascinating firm is told in Pulham Rock Gardens, but the various aspects of the wide range of work for which they were responsible are outlined in the following pages: