Oral history of British science
Rothschild, Miriam (6 of 16) An Oral History of British Horticulture
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Rothschild, Miriam, 1908-2005 (speaker, female)
Brodie, Louise (speaker, female)
Part 6: In her father's day they had 2 men just to do the roads. Sometimes mushrooms grew on them. Gravel from the seaside was used for roads. Gardener Wright was trained at Tring and his son also worked for them. Hill was the shepherd and he had the most beautiful cottage garden. He used to build a "village" out of straw bales for his lambing sheep. Miriam Rothschild's [MR] father was determined that everyone should have a good garden and started them off with trees and shrubs. He rebuilt the whole village. There was a cricket field opposite the pub. When the estate workers retired they could live in their cottages rent free for life. And the widows could stay on. He wanted everyone to be happy. He always encouraged employees to be sporty. People wanted to say in the same job, it was made to feel important. Even the man who looked after the pigeons, who was a friend of MRs. Story of MR meeting a stranger, Ford, in the road and he showing her a rare moth. He went to work for her, as she was working on myxamatosis for the government and had 50 breeding rabbits. He was a genius as a naturalist. Story of him emigrating to Australia. MR showed myxamatosis was carried by fleas. Naturalists are born not made. Before MR gave up Edwardian gardening she had Stanton as head gardener. He won gold medals for fruit, vegetables and flowers. There is a network of people who show. He grew plants for Suttons seeds. Eventually MR didn't want to do that sort of gardening and it was too expensive.
Interview with Dame Miriam Rothschild DBE FRS, naturalist and entomologist.