Chilton Gardens, formerly Chilton Lodge Gardens and Leverton Gardens: records relating to the gardens and Harry Dodson (catalogued)

Scope and Content

The records include an early 20th-century plan of the gardens at Chilton, gardeners’ wages books, 1901-1970, records of produce and sales, 1922-1995, including vegetables produced during the Second World War when the walled gardens were turned over to food production, and correspondence and papers of Harry Dodson, head gardener and later frontman of several BBC television series featuring the walled gardens (‘The Victorian Kitchen Garden’, 1987, ‘The Victorian Kitchen’, 1989, ‘The Victorian Flower Garden’, 1991 and ‘The Wartime Kitchen and Garden’, 1993)

All paper items were treated for mould contamination and book worm in 2016


The archive was arranged into the following sections, and arranged chronologically within sections to reflect the development of the garden.

CHN/1 Chilton Gardens management

CHN/1/1 Wages books

CHN/1/2 Plan

CHN/1/3 Petty cash book

CHN/1/4 Valuations of stock

CHN/1/5 Garden signs

CHN/1/6 General horticultural correspondence

CHN/1/7 Weather record

CHN/2 Chilton Gardens produce

CHN/2/1 Annual statements of garden produce

CHN/2/2 Record of produce supplied

CHN/2/3 Produce sales journals

CHN/2/4 Order books: various customers

CHN/2/5 Order books: specific customers

CHN/2/6 Monthly statement books

CHN/3 Television and related publications

CHN/3/1 'The Victorian Kitchen Garden'

CHN/3/2 'The Wartime Garden' and other television and book projects

CHN/4 Personal papers and original photograph of Harry Dodson

CHN/5 Digital images of Chilton Estate and Harry Dodson

Conditions Governing Access

The following items are unfit for production, awaiting conservation, and are therefore unavailable: CHN/1/1/4 Wages book, 1913-1920; CHN/1/2/1 Plan of the gardens, early 20th century; CHN/2/3/1-3 Produce sales journals. The remainder of the archive is open for consultation and readers are asked to take care due to the fragile nature of the materials. It is essential to check opening hours and make an appointment.

Acquisition Information

Donated in Jan 2007 by Sarah Scrope, owner of the Chilton Estate, and by Adrian Scrope, with accruals of digital images in 2016 and 2018.

Other Finding Aids

The Lindley Library descriptive catalogue, available on-line via the Archives Hub, and as a paper copy in the research room.

Archivist's Note

Catalogued by Liz Taylor, RHS Lindley Libraries archivist, in March 2018. Research assistance given by Jennian Geddes, RHS Lindley Library volunteer. Packaging assistance given by Annie Johns, RHS Lindley Library volunteer.

Appraisal Information

Low level papers relating to research for the television programmes, including modern publications and photocopies of older publications, were disposed of in 2015, with the donor's agreement. A set of copied plans labelled 'Helsingborg Tekniska Forvaltningen Parkkontoret: Sofiero Viktorianska Tradgarden', 1996, (possibly reference documents) were disposed of in 2016, with the donor's agreement.

Custodial History

The records were kept in outbuildings of the kitchen garden at Chilton until they were transferred to the Lindley Library in 2007 by Adrian and Sarah Scrope, owners of Chilton Estate.

Related Material

Other papers relating to the Chilton Estate are held at Chilton. For a photograph of Chilton Garden Centre conservatory by night, c.1989-1990, see RHS/CC/54c file 13.

Corporate Names