Why YOU should visit Chelsea Physic Garden Fair this year

Written on 11 November 2014 by Alistair Boscawen in London

The Chelsea Physic Garden Fair is the place to be this year! Do you have your ticket ready?

Christmas is always a good time to take advantage of the opportunity to eat, drink and be merry. The festive season also offers the chance to hangout with family and friends whom you otherwise may not see much. As well as this, there are usually an array of Christmas events going on across the capital – such as the Chelsea Physic Garden Fair – we as an estate agent in Chelsea can assure you this is the ideal place to shop for gifts and lovely food.

This event goes on every year and has a carefully chosen selection of more than 80 stalls. The annual Fair is held in heated marquees and the range of products include cashmere, jewellery, garden objects, silverware, chocolates etc. Refreshments are also available – and you can visit the in-house 'Tangerine Dream Café' for a seasonal menu. 

Chelsea garden

A brief history of the Fair

The garden was founded in 1673, as the Apothecaries' Garden – and the idea was to train apprentices to identify plants. The location was chosen specifically so the plants would thrive, because the proximity  to the river created a warmer microclimate. This allowed the survival of many non-native plants – such as the largest outdoor fruiting olive tree in Britain! The river was also a great transport route – linking the garden to other open spaces, like Putney Heath and allowed easy movements of both plants and botanists.  

A few years later, Dr Hans Sloane (yes, Sloane Square WAS named after him) purchased the Manor of Chelsea from Charles Cheyne. The purchase of four acres was then leased to the Society of Apothecaries for £5 a year in perpetuity. Environments for supporting different types of plants were built – including the pond rock garden, which was constructed from a variety of rock types; as well as stones from the Tower of London, Icelandic lava and fused bricks and flint.

Interesting facts

  • In 1848, Scottish botanist Robert Fortune used Wardian cases – like minature greenhouses – in order to transport seedlings of Camelia sinensis (tea) from China.  This led to the establishment of the tea industry in India.
  • In 1876 the Garden started running lecture courses for young women who were training as botany teachers.  
  • Towards the end of the 19th century, the trustees of the City Parochial Foundation agreed to take over the running of the Garden from the Society of Apothecaries.
  • In 1983 the Garden became a registered charity and open to the general public for the first time.  

Over the years, The Chelsea Physic Garden has developed a key role in public education, focusing on increased interest in natural medicine. The Garden of World Medicine – the UK's first garden of ethnobotany (the study of the botany of different ethnic groups and indigeonous peoples) is also laid out, along with a new Pharmaceutical Garden.
The Chelsea Physic Garden Fair is taking place on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 November 2014, 10am-4pm. Tickets are £5 for adults and free for friends and family under 16s (two children per adult.)  

Make sure you don't miss out!

Image credit:chuck b

Alistair Boscawen

Alistair has 32 years’ experience as an estate agent, starting in the country house department of one of London’s main international agencies before moving to the Knightsbridge house department of the same agency and learning the difference in values between freehold, long lease and short lease houses in Knightsbridge, Belgravia, Chelsea and Mayfair.

All articles by Alistair Boscawen


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