Behind the Privet Hedge

Michael Gilson


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Reaktion Books
1 May 2024
ISBN: 9781789148602
336 pages

From the publisher

Unearths the British national obsession with the suburban garden.

Britain is a nation of gardeners; the suburban garden, with its roses and privet hedges, is widely admired and copied across the world. But it is little understood how millions across the nation developed an obsession with their colourful plots of land. Behind the Privet Hedge explores the history of this development and how, despite their stereotype as symbols of dull, middle-class conformity, these new open spaces were seen as a means to bring about social change in the early twentieth century. Michael Gilson restores to the story a remarkable but long-forgotten figure, Richard Sudell, who spent a lifetime ‘evangelizing’ that the garden be in the vanguard of progress towards a new egalitarian society with everyday beauty at its centre.