New Exhibition Uncovering Women’s Contribution to Post-Second World War Landscape Architecture in Britain

The travelling exhibition, Women of the Welfare Landscape curated by Professor Luca Csepely-Knorr and Dr Camilla Allen from Liverpool School of Architecture is on show at the National Trust’s Quarry Bank Mill property in Styal, Cheshire.

The exhibition is part of Prof Csepely-Knorr’s AHRC Research Development and Engagement Fellowship, that uncovers women’s contribution to changing the landscapes of post-war Britain and beyond. The Gardens Trust is project partner of this exciting project. The travelling exhibition – a key part of output of the project – is focusing on the work and networks of Brenda Colvin (1897-1981), the first woman to be elected president of the Institute of Landscape Architects (today’s Landscape Institute). It gives an insight into the variety of projects Colvin, and her practice Colvin & Moggridge worked on, and introduces a number of women whose contributions to landscape architecture needs to be considered in more depth.

Photo by Brenda Colvin, first female president of the Landscape Institute of Sylvia Crowe, the second female president, during their holiday in 1946. Photo courtesy of the Brenda Colvin Archive, Museum of English Rural Life, University of Reading.

The exhibition at Quarry Bank Mill is an interactive and extended version of the original travelling exhibition, celebrating Colvin’s work for the Trust in Styal – including drawings and artefacts which have not been researched or displayed before now. As part of the ongoing dissemination of this work, and with the support of the University of Liverpool, Prof Csepely-Knorr, along with architect Laura Sanderson and landscape architect Joy Burgess, worked with the local Styal Primary School on a workshop which involved the school children creating drawings and making models for their ideas for the landscape of Styal, inspired by the work of Colvin which they discovered by walking out the plan which she created. The children’s work is included in the exhibition in celebration of their ideas and to make the local community more aware of the importance of their local landscapes. The exhibition also includes a number of interactive elements, including a Discovery Walk and a Design Competition – where budding landscape architects can share their plans with the team.

The exhibition will be open until 6th September. For more information about opening times, please see Quarry Bank’s website.

On Wednesday 30th August Prof Csepely-Knorr will lead a guided tour of the exhibition and a walk around the landscape of Styal. The event is organised in collaboration with the Cheshire Gardens Trust.

More information on how to book tickets on the Cheshire Gardens Trust website.

Top photo credit: Miklos Csepely-Knorr

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Painswick Roccoco Gardens, the Red House, Photo © Joab Smith