Dr Barbara Simms

MA in Garden and Landscape History

07887 680884

Barbara Simms is a garden and landscape historian with a particular interest in the history, conservation and interpretation of gardens of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Her background in the fields of English literature, psychology and sociology has encouraged her to explore garden making from a broad perspective, an approach reflected in her teaching. She has completed projects for heritage organisations, including the National Trust and Historic England,  local authorities and others, and was chair of the London Parks & Gardens Trust 2002-8. Barbara is editor of Garden History, the Journal of The Gardens Trust (previously The Garden History Society), and until recently a trustee of the Garden Museum, Lambeth. She is also chair of the online educational resource, Parks & Gardens UK, www.parksandgardens.org, a database of historic designed landscapes. Barbara was co-coordinator of the MA Garden History at Birkbeck, University of London, until 2012 and teaches and lectures widely on garden history. She is now course director of the MA in Garden and Landscape History at the IHR.

Research and publications


  • John Brookes. Garden and Landscape Designer (London: Conran Octopus, 2007)
  • Eric Lyons and Span (ed.) (London: RIBA Publishing, 2006)


  • ‘The Houses and Gardens of Bertram Wodehouse Currie and His Liberal Friends at Coombe 1860-1900’, London Gardener, 15 (2010)
  • ‘Parliament Square. The Significance of the Grey Wornum Landscape’, London Gardener, 13 (2008)
  • ‘”A Distinct Beauty of its Own”: New Uses for Concrete in Post-War Gardens’, London Gardener, 12 (2007)
  • ‘Rooms Outside: 1960s London Gardens by John Brookes’, London Gardener, 10 (2005)
  • ‘Span Housing: Post-War Landscapes at Risk?’, London Gardener, 7 (2002)
  • ‘Perfection of their Kind: Notes on Sir Philip Sassoon’s Gardens at Trent Park’, London Gardener, 6 (2001)

Research interests

  • Designers and gardens of the interwar and post-war era. Current project: gardens, gardening and the landscape in 1930s Britain.


Contemporary garden history (twentieth and twenty-first century) on the MA in Garden and Landscape History