Town & Coun­try

Country Life Every Week - - Contents -

Cel­e­brat­ing the NGS turn­ing 90

NINETY years ago, in 1927, a shilling was all that was re­quired to gain en­try to the gar­dens of Hat­field House in Hert­ford­shire, the first to open on be­half of what is now called the Na­tional Gar­den Scheme (note Gar­den, not Gar­dens, as an­nounced yes­ter­day) (NGS); vis­i­tors could ‘wan­der where they liked’, wrote an ex­cited Times re­porter.

The scheme had been es­tab­lished ear­lier that year by the Queen’s Nurs­ing In­sti­tute to con­trib­ute to a me­mo­rial fund in aid of pa­tron Queen Alexan­dra, fol­low­ing her death in 1925. Of the orig­i­nal 600 gar­dens that opened in 1927, more than 80 are still part of the scheme—san­dring­ham in Nor­folk and Ram­ster in Sur­rey are the only two to have been in­volved for ev­ery one of the char­ity’s 90 years.

To date, the NGS has raised more than £45 mil­lion for its ben­e­fi­ciary char­i­ties, which in­clude Marie Curie and Macmil­lan Cancer Sup­port; up­ping the shillinga-head charge in the 1970s helped en­large the cof­fers.

Co­in­cid­ing with the start of COUN­TRY LIFE’S weekly NGS fea­ture (Note­book, page 35), the new Yel­low Book (above)—of­fi­cially The Gar­den Vis­i­tor’s Hand­book 2017—the es­sen­tial guide to gar­dens open­ing for the NGS, is out and it’s had a spe­cial an­niver­sary makeover. COUN­TRY LIFE read­ers can pur­chase the book for £9.99 (RRP £12.99)—visit and en­ter the code CLMGVH17. Fur­ther­more, May 27–29 is the NGS’S An­niver­sary Week­end, with 400 gar­dens open as well as craft fairs and ex­hi­bi­tions.

The West Gar­den at Hat­field House, Hert­ford­shire, was the first gar­den to open un­der the Na­tional Gar­den Scheme

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