Lunchtime Lecture – Royal Kitchen Garden

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Yesterday afternoon a record number of members joined us for our biggest lunchtime lecture to date! Thank you to all those who came along.

We relocated to the Garden Room at Hampton Court to hear from Graham Dillamore, Gardens and Estates Operations Manager. Graham introduced the new Kitchen Garden project which is being undertaken as of this month for opening in May 2014.

Graham has summarised his talk for our blog readers:

‘For 150 years this Royal Kitchen Garden at Hampton Court grew all of the fruit and vegetables for Hampton Court Palace kitchens and the royal dining table. From 1689 until it was given up in 1842, the Kitchen Garden was said to be the finest Kitchen Garden in Britain.  Each Tilt yard was divided up into many small rectangular plots, each plot being used to rotate different vegetables at different times of the year.   Walled fruit was grown in fans and espaliers on the walls and standard dwarf fruit trees lined the outer paths. This layout remained the same for over 150 years. Indeed, the whole of the Tilt Yards area was dedicated to the production of fruit and vegetables. Evidence for this use is gained from many of the fine engravings and prints of the period.


Note the Tilt Yards at the top of this 1702 engraving – The entire area appears to be dedicated to crop production of some description.

In line with our overall Garden strategy HRP has decided to recreate one of these ‘yards’ as an authentic Kitchen Garden of the 18th century.  In 2014, when we will be complete, visitors will be able to explore free of charge the history of the kitchen garden, discover the older varieties of fruit and vegetables, and learn more about the techniques that were used to cultivate them.  This exciting project reconnects Hampton Court Palace with an element of horticulture that has been lost for over 150 years. Once again this area will see the production of fruit and vegetables that will be available for everyone to enjoy and inspect not just the King or Queen this time!’
Kitchen Garden Aerial sketch
Artist impression of the new Kitchen Garden

For those of you who were unable to attend, further details about the project are in the new Autumn issue of Inside Story.

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