1881-92 – Holly Hill Park, Sarisbury, Hampshire

People and Places Discussed and Pictured in Chapter 13 of: Continue reading “1881-92 – Holly Hill Park, Sarisbury, Hampshire”

1881-92 – Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire

 People and Places Discussed and Pictured in Chapter 12 of: Continue reading “1881-92 – Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire”

1876-79 – Madresfield Court, Malvern, Worcestershire

People and Places Discussed and Pictured in Chapter 11 of: Continue reading “1876-79 – Madresfield Court, Malvern, Worcestershire”

1876 – The Swiss Garden, Old Warden, Bedfordshire

People and Places Discussed and Pictured in Chapter 10 of: Continue reading “1876 – The Swiss Garden, Old Warden, Bedfordshire”

1872-76 – St Fagans Castle, near Cardiff, Wales

People and Places Discussed and Pictured in Chapter 9 of: Continue reading “1872-76 – St Fagans Castle, near Cardiff, Wales”

1868-1905 – Sandringham Royal Estate

People and Places Discussed and Pictured in Chapter 8 of: Continue reading “1868-1905 – Sandringham Royal Estate”

1867 – Audley End, Saffron Walden, Essex

People and Places Discussed and Pictured in Chapter 7 of: Continue reading “1867 – Audley End, Saffron Walden, Essex”

1847-62 – Highnam Court, Gloucestershire

People and Places Discussed and Pictured in Chapter 4 of Continue reading “1847-62 – Highnam Court, Gloucestershire”

The Broxbourne Manufactory

People and Places Discussed and Pictured in Chapter 3 of: Continue reading “The Broxbourne Manufactory”

1845-55 – The Second Generation (Part 2)

People and Places Discussed and Pictured In Chapter 2 of: Continue reading “1845-55 – The Second Generation (Part 2)”

1828-45 – The Second Generation (Part 1)

People and Places Discussed and Pictured in Chapter 2 of: more

1793-1828 – How It All Began

People and Places Discussed and Pictured in Chapter 1 of: more

People and Places Featured in . . .

The purpose of this Section is to list all the principal people and locations featured in . . .

‘Rock Landscapes: The Pulham Legacy’

. . . the definitive story of James Pulham and Son, the eminent landscape artists of Victorian and Edwardian England.   Continue reading “People and Places Featured in . . .”

1894-98 – The Parks in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

SM 39 – Aug 14

At about the same time that he was completing his commission at Belle Vue Park, in Newport, Monmouthshire – see Chapter 20 in Rock Landscapes: The Pulham Legacy – Thomas Mawson was awarded contracts for the design of Hanley Park and Burslem Park in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, for which he again involved the Pulhams for the construction of some rockwork features. Continue reading “1894-98 – The Parks in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire”

1885-93 – Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire

SM 38 – Jul 14

Bletchley Park, fifty miles northwest of London, became the home of Herbert Leon, a wealthy City of London financier, stockbroker, newspaper proprietor, company director and MP.   He built the mansion as a home for his family in 1883, and developed sixty acres of the surrounding land into a country estate.   The Gardeners’ Chronicle reported in 1893 that, in ten years, Sir Herbert had: Continue reading “1885-93 – Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire”

1887-91 – A Tale of Two Ferneries

SM 37 – Jun 14


In an Appendix to his booklet, Picturesque Ferneries and Rock Garden Scenery, James 2 lists quite a number of clients for whom the firm built ‘large’ or ‘small’ ferneries, although these were invariably for private clients whose houses no longer exist, or are difficult to trace.   Since the booklet was published c1877, it obviously provides no references to any work done after that date.

Thanks to some of those invaluable pieces of ‘information received’, it has been possible to identify later Pulham ferneries, some of which – such as the ones at Dewstow, Merrow Grange and Warren House – are described in Rock Landscapes: The Pulham Legacy.   This article discusses two more that are well worthy of mention.   One is still in excellent condition, and the other is not, but that is not the only comparison that can be made between these ferneries and their owners . . . Continue reading “1887-91 – A Tale of Two Ferneries”

May 2014 – News Letter (Updated September)

Dear All,

Forthcoming Presentations in Hertfordshire

This is my first News Letter for some time, but that does not mean that I have been sitting around doing nothing!   In fact, quite a lot has been going on, but this must stay behind the scenes for the moment, and I hope to be able to make some important and interesting announcements sometime soon.   In the meantime, Valerie Christman and I have three more Presentations booked in Hertfordshire over the next few months, and we look forward to seeing as many of our friends and ‘followers’ there as possible. Continue reading “May 2014 – News Letter (Updated September)”

1879-85 – Bearwood College, Wokingham, Berkshire

SM 36 – May 14

John Walter II, the then chief proprietor of The Times newspaper, purchased the 8,000 acre Bearwood estate in Wokingham, Berkshire, in 1816, and commissioned William Gilpin to landscape the gardens between 1819-20 – a commission inherited by David Stewart c1822.[i] Continue reading “1879-85 – Bearwood College, Wokingham, Berkshire”

1872-75 – The Aquarium, Brighton, Sussex

SM 35 – Apr 14

Right in the centre of Brighton’s seafront, in Sussex, is what is now known as the Sea Life Centre. It started life as ‘The Aquarium’, and was officially opened to the public by H.R.H. Prince Arthur in 1872, and has drawn more than fifty million visitors from both England and abroad throughout its long and varied history. Continue reading “1872-75 – The Aquarium, Brighton, Sussex”

1871-1906 – Highland Gardens, New Barnet, Greater London

SM 34 – Mar 14

There is a small, little-known public space in New Barnet that was once a private garden, where James Pulham and Son went in 1871 to construct a . .

‘Rocky bank, forming cliff, with Dropping Well.   For Ferns, Alpines and Shrubs’ Continue reading “1871-1906 – Highland Gardens, New Barnet, Greater London”

1865-92 – Poles Park, Ware, Hertfordshire

SM 33 – Feb 14

One of James 2’s more local patrons of the 1860s was Robert Hanbury, who lived at Hanbury Manor, Poles Park, near Ware, in Hertfordshire, about five miles from the manufactory.   Robert Hanbury – a senior partner in Truman, Hanbury and Buxton, one of the biggest brewing firms in London at that time – inherited Hanbury Manor in 1847.  He was a keen horticulturist, and, in 1865, engaged James 2 to construct a:

‘Conservatory, fernery and dropping well.’ Continue reading “1865-92 – Poles Park, Ware, Hertfordshire”

1845 – Church of St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, Avon

SM 32 – Jan 14

One of the church restoration projects with which Pulhams were involved was the Church of St Mary RedcliffeI, Bristol.   And what a truly magnificent church this is – having once been referred to by Queen Elizabeth I, while on a visit to Bristol in 1547, as ‘the goodliest, fairest, and most famous parish church in England!’ Continue reading “1845 – Church of St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, Avon”

1864-67 – The Preston Parks, Lancashire

SM 31 – Dec 13

James 2’s Contribution to the Parks Movement

The ‘Parks Movement’ in Great Britain began during the 1830s and ‘40s as a result of the bad living conditions that had developed in the towns during the early years of the industrial revolution.   Continue reading “1864-67 – The Preston Parks, Lancashire”

November 2013 – News Letter

  • ‘PL1’ – Your Key to A Very Special Christmas Offer
  • A Most Interesting Approach from NADFAS
  • We Mark the Passing of a Truly Remarkable Lady
  • The ‘Pulhams of Broxbourne’ Presentations go to Wales
  • ‘PL1’ – A Final Reminder . . . Continue reading “November 2013 – News Letter”

1896 – Knebworth House, Hertfordshire

SM 30 – Nov 13

James 2 died on 11th August 1898, and, in its edition dated 29th August, the ‘Hertfordshire Mercury’ published an obituary that reads:

‘We regret to announce the death of My James Pulham (the head of the well-known firm of Pulham and Son) terracotta manufacturers and rock workers, of Finsbury Square and Broxbourne, which took place, after about a week’s illness, on the 11th inst at Tottenham, where he had resided for the last fifteen years.   Continue reading “1896 – Knebworth House, Hertfordshire”

1880 – St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin

SM 29 – Oct 13

James Pulham and Son only worked on a small number of sites outside mainland Britain, and only four of these were in Eire – St Anne’s, Clonart; Mount Coote, Limerick; Glenart Castle, Co Wicklow, and St Stephen’s Green, in Dublin, which is the best preserved, and the subject of this article.  Continue reading “1880 – St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin”

1901-05 – ‘Davenham’, Malvern, Worcestershire

SM 28 – Sep 13

Charles Dyson Perrins was educated at Charterhouse and Queen’s College, Oxford, after which he spent four years in the army before entering the family firm of Lea and Perrins, of Worcestershire Sauce fame.   He was only 23 when his father died in 1887 and he inherited the family fortune, but, like his father, he recognised that, with wealth, came responsibilities.   He married his first wife in 1889, and followed his father as a Director of Royal Worcester Porcelain in 1891, becoming Mayor of Worcester in 1897, and High Sheriff of Worcestershire in 1899. Continue reading “1901-05 – ‘Davenham’, Malvern, Worcestershire”

September 2013 – News Letter

Dear All,

Danesfield House Book Signing

Tuesday, 13th August,  was an interesting day at Danesfield House, Marlow-on-Thames.   Their wonderful Pulham gardens were open to the public for the last of their four NGS Open Days, and I went along with Val Christman for a book signing session in the afternoon. Continue reading “September 2013 – News Letter”

James Pulham in Scotland

130900 - Scottish Rock Garden Cover 600 x 850by Claude Hitching

(This is the complete article – a few deletions were necessary during the editing process due to space limitations is July 2013 Issue of The Rock Garden)

James Pulham and Son are best remembered these days for the picturesque rock gardens, ferneries, follies and grottoes they constructed during the Victorian years.   Continue reading “James Pulham in Scotland”

The Rock Garden

130900 - Scottish Rock Garden Cover 600 x 850Rock Landscapes: The Pulham Legacy

Claude Hitching, with photography by Jenny Lilly

300 pages, many colour and black & white photographs
ISBN 978-1-87067-376-1 – Antique Collectors’ Club Ltd £35

This lavishly produced book is the result of Claude Hitching’s researching the work of hrs great-grandfather, William Hitching; William’s brother, George, and William’s three sons – Arthur, Frederick and John – who all worked as ’rock builders’ for the firm of James Pulham & Son, the eminent Victorian and Edwardian landscape gardeners. Continue reading “The Rock Garden”

1892-97 – Aldenham House, Elstree, Hertfordshire

SM 27 – Aug 13

George Henry Gibbs inherited Aldenham House from his cousin, Sarah Noyes – a descendent of Robert Hucks – when she died in 1842.   He never actually lived in it, however – partly because his family home was at Tyntesfield, near Bristol, and also because Aldenham House was let to other tenants at the time.[i]  Continue reading “1892-97 – Aldenham House, Elstree, Hertfordshire”

The Alpine Gardener – September 2012

120900 - Alpine Gardener - Sept 12 - Cover 400 x 600The Master Builders of Britain’s Rock Gardens

Rock Landscapes: The Pulham Legacy                              

Rock Gardens, Grottoes, Ferneries, Follies, Fountains and Garden Ornaments

Garden Art Press, 2012

ISBN  978 – 1 – 87067 – 376 – 1

Price   £35.00

AGS1 - Rock Landscapes Front Cover

 J.R.Pulham, Secretary to the Committee of the Alpine Garden Society at the end of World War Two, was the last of a dynasty of four James Pulhams who, in turn, led a company manufacturing garden ornaments and constructing rock gardens, water features and ferneries.   Continue reading “The Alpine Gardener – September 2012”

1905-13 – London Zoo, Regent’s Park, London

SM 26 – Jul 13

It may not be generally known that James Pulham and Son did some work at the London Zoo, but this is a place in which I have some personal interest, because my grandfather, Frederick Hitching, was responsible for some of it.   When my brother and I were children, he often used to tell us stories about the various places at which he had worked, and one of these was London Zoo, where he said he worked on the Sea Lion Pond and the Monkey Enclosure. Continue reading “1905-13 – London Zoo, Regent’s Park, London”

The Local Historian – May 2013

Rock Landscapes: The Pulham Legacy

 Rock Gardens, Grottoes, Ferneries, Follies, Fountains and Garden Ornaments.  Claude Hitching, with photography by Jenny Lilly   (Garden Art Press 2012 – 320pp – ISBN 978-1-87067-376-1)  £35


130500 - Local Historian Cover 500 x 700 This excessively illustrated book (there are 450 colour and 340 black and white photographs) is the culmination of over ten years of research, inspired by the author’s family connections with the Pulhams and their remarkable creations in artificial and natural rockwork.   When he retired, Claude Hitching, originally a Management Accountant, started to research his own family, beginning with his grandfather, Frederick Hitching.   Continue reading “The Local Historian – May 2013”

Devon Gardens Trust – Spring Newsletter 2013: No 89

Rock Landscapes: the Pulham Legacy 

by Claude Hitching, Published by Garden Art Press – 312pp – £35

130600 - Devon Gardens Trust - Cover 500 x 700This book is a wonderful example of how family history can expand into garden history.   When Claude Hitching set out to discover more about his grandfather, he found that four more relatives had worked at some time for the firm of James Pulham and Son, which itself spanned four generations from the turn of the nineteenth century.   Claude has enthusiastically pursued Pulham artefacts and sites, which revealed many fascinating personal stories as well.   Continue reading “Devon Gardens Trust – Spring Newsletter 2013: No 89”