The Director of the Garden Museum, Christopher Woodward, is planning an epic fundraising swim, aiming to raise £100,000 towards the £270,000 shortfall of funds needed to save the museum. We spotted their cry for help and were eager to support this worthy endeavour. Within a day or so, our committee had unanimously agreed, by email, that this was a fantastic cause that we must contribute towards, and approved a donation of £500.
Based in the abandoned church of St Mary’s at Lambeth, London SE1, the Garden Museum was the first museum in the world dedicated to the history of gardening. Founded in 1977, it is a vital contributor to the UK’s collection of museums and archival resources for both amateur and professional researchers and specialists.
As the Garden Museum has temporarily closed its doors to visitors in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, this has been a big blow to their finances, as 70% of the income is generated from visitors, events, café and venue hire. They estimate that between March and June there will be a shortfall of £270,000.
Christopher is proposing to swim 50 miles from Newlyn in Cornwall to Tresco on the Scilly Isles. It will be the first time that it has been attempted. He will be channelling the memory of artist-gardener Cedric Morris (1889 – 1982), whose garden at Benton Hall, Suffolk and flower paintings featured in the popular Garden Museum exhibition ‘Cedric Morris: Artist Plantsman’ in 2018. The forthcoming sponsored swim is going to trace the same boat journey made by Morris, 70 years ago.
A 50-mile open water swim is in itself newsworthy. To raise money towards the Garden Museum is heroic, and we are pleased to be helping out a little. If anyone wants to contribute themselves, the museum would be grateful for your support and do tell your friends and colleagues about it – the Garden Museum is an important and lively part of our National Garden Heritage.