See inside the Charterhouse gardens

A new book offers a glimpse into the former monastery’s delightful grounds

Image: Claire Davies

A year after opening its gates to the public, Charterhouse’s head gardener Claire Davies has published a beautiful guide to the grounds of the historic monastery so that readers across the country can enjoy the hidden enclosure in the heart of London.

Image: Claire Davies

Built in 1371, Charterhouse originally opened as a Carthusian monastery, which flourished until the dissolution of the monasteries during the reign of Henry VIII. It then became a place of Royal refuge, hosting Elizabeth I’s Privy Council meetings, and in 1611 was established as a charitable foundation for “those ruined by shipwreck or other calamity” by Thomas Sutton. After more than 650 years, the historic former monastery was formally opened to the public in 2017 by HRH The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. Today, Charterhouse continues its charitable legacy as an almshouse and offers tours of the historic site, a learning programme and fundraising events. The public can now explore the idyllic gardens, hidden just a few minutes away from Barbican station. 

Image: Rhod Walls

Previously featured in works of literature by Charles Dickens, Daniel Defoe and William Makepeace Thackeray, Charterhouse is now the subject of a new book, Behind Walls: Enchanting Hidden Gardens of Charterhouse. Illustrated with beautiful photography, head gardener Claire Davies’ book invites readers to delve into Charterhouse’s fascinating history, learn about plant varieties and explore the picturesque gardens as they evolve from season to season. All profits from the sales will be donated to the Charterhouse to support its ongoing preservation.

​Image: Claire Davies

Behind Walls: Enchanting Hidden Gardens of the Charterhouse’  by Claire Davies (£24, Art and Life) is out now. 

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