Cloth Fair Hidden Garden attracts the crowds

Last weekend was the first time that the Hidden Garden of Cloth Fair had joined more than 100 others in the London Open Garden programme, and it was a great success.

Ten years ago the garden of St Bartholomew the Great was overgrown, and when Bernadette Skehan moved into a flat overlooking the space she decided something had to be done.

After negotiation with the church Bernadette recruited volunteers, help from construction companies, and gained some funding from the Culture Mile Business Improvement District. At the weekend neighbours turned out to help show more than 2000 people through the garden. I asked Bernadette how she felt it had gone.

… and then had a retrospective tour, explaining how things have developed since work began in 2018. One feature is a kitchen garden, with herbs, created by chef Pascal Aussignac from the nearby Club Gascon restaurant.

On Sunday we were entertained by post grad students from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance – Sophie Ehling and Sam Rajagopal – playing JS Bach and Reinhold Gliére.

If you are passing watch the space where Sophie and Sam performed – there are plans for further development there.

The Hidden Gardens featured in the Open Gardens programme are not generally open to the public, but the Cloth Fair garden does offer the opportunity to pick some herbs through the railings at Bartholomew Passage.

The astonishingly beautiful and atmospheric St Bartholomew the Great church (1123) is however generally open, with an entrance round the corner in Smithfield, right next to Club Gascon. No charge for entrance.

Update: Bernadette tells me that she and other local volunteers are in training to provide “up the scaffold” tours of the conservation work being undertaken in the nearby Great Hall of St Barts. These will run from the end of July through to next January. More information and booking here.

“Join us on this tour to explore the hospital’s rich history, and the architecture and people involved in the craftsmanship of the James Gibbs Great Hall. The tour will also take in the conservation work to rescue and rejuvenate the Grade 1 listed building, including the staircase decorated by William Hogarth.

“Get an insider’s look at the conservation and restoration work being done to protect this historically significant building”.

More here about the restoration project.

1 thought on “Cloth Fair Hidden Garden attracts the crowds

  1. Excellent, David; always a pleasure to read your blog – and now to see and hear about Bernadette’s garden. Hats off to her for such superb work. And to you for yours!

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