Landscape Institutes archive collection finds new home at the University of Reading


    The Landscape Institute, the professional body for landscape architects, has transferred its archive to the University of Reading’s special collections based at the Museum of Rural Life (MERL). The collection includes plans for the restoration of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s Charleston farmhouse by Peter Shepheard, who also designed the landscape for London Zoo, and the original plan for the park at Sydenham, South London when the Crystal Palace moved there from Hyde Park in the 1850s.

    For many years the Landscape Institute has worked to build up an archive as a repository for the work of the profession and its contribution to society. The extensive archive includes the drawings and professional papers of many leading landscape architects including the urban designer Michael Brown (Redditch New Town), Sylvia Crowe (Commonwealth Institute, London and the roof garden for the Scottish Widows building in Edinburgh) and Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe (Atlanta History Center and JFK

    Memorial at Runnymede). It includes many intricate sketches and drawings by Peter Shepheard – an accomplished artist as well as landscape architect, invited by Pevsner to illustrate two books on ducks and woodland birds. Recent acquisitions to the archive include the drawings and project files of the Milner White practice, the first and, until its closure in 1995, the oldest landscape architecture practice in the UK, and leading contemporary landscape architect Preben Jakobsen, the fourth member of the Landscape Institute to receive its prestigious gold medal.

    Penny Beckett, a trustee of the Landscape Institute, said: “At MERL the Landscape Institute’s archive will not only be conserved but will be accessible to all and in time will realise its true potential. And, by setting up a friends’ group to support the archive it has an exciting future. There will be funding from the Landscape Institute on what we intend will be an annual basis, to ensure that the archive will be actively used and developed for research led interpretation and study of the work and achievements of landscape professionals.”

    The Museum of English Rural Life, housed in the centre of Reading and owned by the University of Reading, was set up in 1951. The special collections held at MERL reflect a diverse range of subject matter from the records of the Council for the Protection of Rural England to the business records of many publishers as well as some of the artists associated with them, to tractor maker Massey Ferguson and Suttons Seeds.

    The Landscape Institute is setting up a Friends group to support MERL in growing the Landscape Institute archive and making it accessible to all. The initial aim is to attract some 75 to 100 founder members. There are currently 70 who, as well as invited academics and those with a particular interest in the history of the UK profession and its archive, include James Corner of Corner Field Operations, Robert Townshend of Townshend Landscape Architects, Jan Woudstra of the University of Sheffield, Marc Trieb at Berkeley , University of California, landscape architect Dominic Cole, past President of the Landscape Institute Hal Moggridge, Jenifer White of English Heritage and Dr Tony Kendle, the Foundation Director of the Eden Project.

    Click here to read more about the archive in the latest issue of Landscape – the journal of the
    Landscape Institute


    Press contact: Sarah Harrison 07768 372892

    For further information and images please contact Sarah Harrison, on behalf of the Landscape Institute, on 07768 372892 or email

    Notes to Editors:
    – The Landscape Institute (LI) is the royal chartered body for landscape architects. It represents professionals in the UK working across planning, design and the management of urban and rural landscape
    – The LI campaigns to protect, conserve and enhance the natural and built environment for public benefit
    – Through its advocacy programmes it champions landscape, and the landscape profession, in order to inspire great places where people want to live, work and visit
    – In 2012 the LI ran the ‘High Line for London’ design competition in partnership with the Mayor of London and Garden Museum. Up to 100 of the submitted designs are viewable at – London’s first collective green infrastructure vision by some of the best designers, landscape architects, architects and green campaigners working today
    – The Landscape Institute publishes a range of materials explaining the benefits of green infrastructure – visit
    – Visit for more information about the Landscape Institute and water
    – For information about other policy work, including Housing, Climate Change and Public Health visit


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