June 15, 2016 at 12:30 pm #14830
I am a garden historian researching the Victorian and Edwardian gardens at Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire.
In the fernery there is a wall containing 15 Watsonian Patent Fern Bricks used to display choice ferns and mosses in Victorian times.
I am interested to know if there are any other examples of these bricks in walls or columns in any other part of the British Isles.
I believe these bricks have been in the fernery at Newstead Abbey since it was created about 1864 (the bricks were patented in 1860 by George B.C. Watson)June 15, 2016 at 2:08 pm #14831
I will ask some of our members
In the meantime, could you take some or one pictures
You can post them on this site, they should be around 600 x 900 pixels in sizeJune 16, 2016 at 1:55 pm #14833
Here is a photo of the Watsonian Patent Fern Bricks at Newstead Abbey from my book Fern Fever, where you can read all about them, and see other pics (pp.127-29). I have never come across them anywhere else; they appear to be a rare survival.
Attachments:June 17, 2016 at 9:01 am #14846
Do you know this article?
https://www.jstor.org/stable/41411759?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contentsJune 18, 2016 at 10:00 am #14851
I have seen this article and have got a photocopy of it. Thank you!June 18, 2016 at 10:05 am #14852
Many thanks for your reply. Would you be able to send me copies of the relevant pages from your book? Our public library service does not have a copy in its holdings.
Historic England have been to look at the wall at Newstead Abbey with a view to listing it as a separate feature.June 26, 2016 at 9:06 am #14903
The Garden History Society have kindly allowed us to publish the article on Watsonian Patent Fern Bricks by Paul EversonFebruary 6, 2017 at 8:55 pm #16270
Hi, I bought a Watsonian patent fern brick at a carbootsale here in Hampshire about 3 years ago. It appears to be the top two tiers of the hexagonal fern column as illustrated in the article. I’ve hopefully attached some photos. It was made by the Garrett Brothers.
I was very interested to read this thread as I’ve previously had great difficulty in finding anything about my brick.
Apart from some chipping around the top of the brick it seems to be in reasonably good condition.
Could this be the only remaining example of one of their fern columns?
Attachments:February 8, 2017 at 11:19 am #16282
I assume the fern brick column found at a car boot must have originally come from a country house estate somewhere in Hampshire. The Watsonian Patent Fern Brick Wall in the Fern Garden at Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire, was listed by English Heritage as a Grade II feature (together with the grotto there) on 1st December 2016. Diligence rewarded!
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