A few months ago I was invited to give a talk on the History of Addenbrooke’s to a gardening group and they asked if I could add a bit about gardening at the Hospital!! I know there are several areas of garden on the campus including the Jubilee Garden, the Takeda Garden and the Child Development Garden, but was not so sure about the Old Site.
I was not sure how much I could find, but once again I was surprised at the rich nuggets of information held in the Hospital Archives.
There are many mentions of the garden at the Old Site in the Governors Minute books including one in December 1864: it is from a copy of a letter written by William Cumming offering his ‘superintendence over the laying out of the ground around the new building free of any remuneration… I will also place at your service a collection of ornamental trees and shrubs such as may be deemed suitable of embellishing the grounds’.
I did a little research about William Cumming, as he gave his address as Madingley Road he was easy to locate and I found that he worked as gardener to the Duke of Devonshire and Lord Braybrooke at Audley Hall.
Later on when the new site was being developed in March 1961 it is reported in the ‘Addenbrooke’s Rebuilding News’ that: ‘in the spring the results of the first plantings around the perimeter of the site will become more notable – some 3,000 plants, flowering shrubs and trees were planted in the autumn of 1959 and for the first time this year should provide an attractive background to the site as a whole’.
Today there are eight people in the Grounds Maintenance Team who look after the 75 acres of the campus from soft landscaping to grounds maintenance issues.