Pleasure Garden

a listening garden
by Genevieve Lacey

The Charterhouse Gardens

The Charterhouse, Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6AN, United Kingdom
18-19 May 2019

Charterhouse’s story begins in 1348 during the Black Death, when the land was used as a burial ground for victims of plague. In 1371 a Carthusian monastery was built on the site, which flourished throughout the later medieval and early Tudor period.

With the dissolution of the monasteries, the Charterhouse became a mansion for wealthy noblemen and a refuge for royalty. Elizabeth I met the Privy Council here in the days before her coronation in 1558 and James I used the Great Chamber to create 130 new Barons before he was crowned. In 1611 Thomas Sutton bought the Charterhouse and established the foundation that now bears his name, providing in his will for up to 80 Brothers: ‘either decrepit or old captaynes either at sea or at land, maimed or disabled soldiers, merchants fallen on hard times, those ruined by shipwreck of other calamity’ as well as Charterhouse school. James I retained his connection with the Charterhouse, becoming the first Royal Governor of Thomas Sutton’s foundation. Since then, Wellington, Gladstone and Cromwell have all been Governors, the Charterhouse appears in the writings of Daniel Defoe, Charles Dickens and William Makepeace Thackeray, and Thackeray, Robert Baden-Powell and John Wesley attended school at Charterhouse. Today the Charterhouse is home to a community of Brothers who benefit from the charity established by Sutton.

The Charterhouse gardens have been designed in an English country garden style featuring roses, herbaceous borders, ancient mulberry trees and a small pond. Garden herbs found here are still used in the kitchen today. The gardens are private and can only be visited on one of Charterhouse’s tours, as part of the National Garden Scheme, or on rare occasions like Barbican’s Sound Unbound weekend. The Head Gardener is Kate Robinson.

Genevieve Lacey

Our thanks to collaborators around the world who have brought Pleasure Garden to life:

Jane Davidson and the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, Australia Council for the Arts, Fiona Winning, Lieven Bertels and Sydney Festival, Ed Champion and staff at Vaucluse House, Sydney Living Museums, Criss Canning and David Glenn of Lambley Garden, Malgosia Fiebig, City Carillonneur of Utrecht, Toby Chadd and ABC Classics, Sheena Boughen and the Four Winds community, Music Norway, Lou Oppenheim and Circus Oz, Henk Heuvelmans and Martijn Buser of Gaudeamus, Graham Pushee and Arts Management, Martel Ollerenshaw, Atticus Bastow, Nick Roux, Ann Lacey, Francine Tanner, Jude Gun, Steven Richardson, Nicole Newman, Fiona Blair, Damon Young, Pat Hockey, Greg Lyons, Adam Gibson, Joseph Browning, Madeleine Flynn, Tim Humphrey, APAM, Kara Ward, Emer Harrington, Catherine Ashton, Mark Lowrey, Lillian Desormeaux, Adele Conlin and Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, William Strode, Daniel Brine, Mark Denbigh and the team at Norfolk and Norwich Festival, Paul Forecast, Alastair Bradshaw, Tina Hammond and all at Felbrigg Hall, Suzie Curtis, Kate Robinson, Huw Humphries, Paul Keene, Sarah Hickling, Miko Malkowski and all at The Charterhouse and The Barbican, Tim Bifield, Anna Casey, Rachel Smith, Rebecca Driver, Sheila Pott and all at Salters' Yard, Michael Schneider, Patrick Schellenberg and all at Boswil, Jane Marriott, Nicola Stephenson, Trevor Nicholson and the team at Harewood.