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    Posted 5 years ago

    (704 items)

    Septimus and Clara Miller visited England in 1906 as part of the Grand Tour. This is the last of the Hampton Court cards that they gathered on their visit. It is another of the cards on the gardens attached to the Palace. However it does not show 'the Vine' but rather the Gardener's Cottage.

    'The Vine" is housed under glass. If you look carefully at the photo you will see the sloping roof of the glasshouse at the left of the photo. Within this structure is the grapevine that was planted by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown in 1768 from a cutting taken at Valentines Mansion, in Essex. In 1887 it was already 1.2 metres (4’) around the base. It is now 4 metres (12’) around the base and the longest rod is 36.5 metres (120’).

    The Great Vine, Vitis vinifera ‘Shiva Grossa’ (synonym - Black Hamburg), is over 240 years old.

    This is the oldest and largest known vine in the world.

    The average crop of black dessert grapes is about 272 kilograms (600lbs), however in the autumn of 2001 it was 383 kilograms (845 lbs) - the best crop ever.

    The care of the vine is in the hands of the 'Gardener at Hampton Court'.

    In 1904, a new glasshouse and heating system was introduced, which included a viewing area for the public.

    What interested me were the two people in the photo: the woman at the door and a man to her right. I have a theory that they were the 'Gardener' and his wife Elisabeth.

    There are records of the names of the 'Gardener' going back to 1738: George Lowe, John Greening, Lancelot Brown, Thomas Haverfield, W Padley, Augustus Turrell, Alexander Turrell, Augustus Turrell, John Knight . . . .

    There was accommodation for those that held the position too!

    The records have it as Apartment 58 aka Vine House – Home of the Vine-Keeper.

    The Vine-Keeper from 1884 to 1916 was Mr James Jack. The 1891 census has James Jacob Jacks [sic] living in the ‘Gardeners residence in the Private Gardens’ with his wife Elizabeth S (b 1847), two sons and three daughters.

    When James Jack retired he gave an interview to The Straits Times, 11 March 1916, Page 9:

    "He went to Hampton Court after having worked for Rev Arthur Pakenham a nephew of the Iron Duke. The vine was then 116 years of age. It was planted in 1768 by “Capability” Brown, the famous landscape gardener of the eighteenth century. Thirty two years ago the vine was in a very poor way. It is now one of the finest in the kingdom. And the oldest under cultivation in England. All that is left of that tree that Mr Jack found at the palace is a short thick stem and one very low limb. The roof is now wood since I came. And this roof stretches in wide perfectly trimmed squares, eighty feet by twenty sic the whole length and breadth of the house. In the summer it looks like a house of vigorous young vines. The foliage is beautiful. ….

    The vine was in the old house when I came and in those days the public was allowed inside. The doors were always open and it was exposed to every draught. The dust and traffic were very much against grape growing. For many years moreover it had bee very much over-cropped and all that it was producing or could be expected to produce under such conditions, was a lot of very small bunches.

    As Time went on it was cropped much more lightly, and it commenced to improve both in vigour and in the production of larger bunches of grapes. Nine or ten years ago the new house was built, new sol was put in and it was treated as a vine should be treated. The change proved thoroughly beneficial.

    The vine now bears fine grapes of good flavour and colour. It is still lightly cropped, the number of bunches sent to the Jing at Windsor every year being rather more than 200. Many of these bunches are sent by his Majesty to various hospitals.

    The grape is the old black Hamburg, one of the finest black varieties. Some years ago twelve bunches were shown at an exhibition of the Royal Horticultural Society and were awarded the Hogg memorial medal for special excellence in culture. Two of the bunches weighed 3lbs 14oz each and the whole twelve weighed about 42 lbs an average of 3 ½ lbs each. It was said of them at the time by experts that it was astonishing that such really superb bunches, so massive, having such fine berries, and so finely coloured – as black as sloes – should have been grown on a vine 140 years old.

    World wide interest is taken in the vine Mr Jack added. All classes of people from all nations have been to see it. They are keenly interested in its age as well as in the fact that it belongs to the King.

    An America visitor once doubted that it was five feet in girth at he ground. I said to him ‘You come and see’. He got a piece of string and found the measurement correct. There is a great bump at the back of the stem that is not seen as the public look at the vine through the glass windows of the porch, and he probably had not reckoned for it. A foot above the ground level the girth diminishes to 4 feet 7 inches.

    Mr Jack does not remember any visit to the vine from either Queen Victoria, King Edward or King George, but possibly, he said, “there have been Royal visitors, peers as well as peasants, and I have not known that they were here.” Four years ago Mr Jack was just half the age of his vine, and today, though he is retiring through age, he still looks as robust as his interesting charge."

    Jack lived on until 1932.

    Black and white post card photograph of Queen Mary's Bower, Hampton Court Palace, no. 12534 by Gale and Polden Ltd., London, Aldershot and Portsmouth. The post card is undated and unused, but others in the same series 'The Wellington Series' appear to date from circa 1900.

    Mystery Solved


    1. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Many thanks MIKELV!
    2. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Many thanks AGHCOLLECT!
    3. SEAN68 SEAN68, 5 years ago
      "THE WELLINGTON SERIES" Sounds very wealthy !! very beautiful postcards :)
    4. racer4four racer4four, 5 years ago
      I had not heard of "The Vine"! Incredible.

      What do they do with the grape harvest?
    5. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Many thanks SEAN, KAREN 'n HO2CULTCHA.
    6. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      "The grapes are ripe after August Bank Holiday and are sold during the first three weeks of September."

      "Queen Victoria had the grapes sent to the Royal Household at Windsor or to Osbourne House on the Isle of Wight. King Edward VII (1901-1910) decided that the grapes were no longer required by the Royal Household and could be sold to visitors.
      Later they were sold in small wicker baskets at St. Dunstans, the home for soldiers blinded in the First World War. In the Second World War German P-O-W’s were given the task of thinning out the bunches of grapes."

      "Today all the grapes are sold to visitors in the Palace shops."

    7. racer4four racer4four, 5 years ago
      No vino then!
    8. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 5 years ago
      At my age, that looks like a nice place to live if they have any openings. I am experienced at growing banana, avocado, lime, marenga & ganja if you would please submit my brief CV for me? Wonder if this comes with the benefits that the Arabs get in the UK? If so count me in!
    9. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Check this blog out!

      There is a postcard there of the Vine itself!

      A marvel ....
    10. SEAN68 SEAN68, 5 years ago
      Your very welcome Kevin!!
    11. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      It is only in very recent times that the English have popularly believed that they can make wine.

      Strangely there are areas that have the same subsoils as those in the Champagne.

      Global warming is changing things too!
    12. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    13. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Many thanks ELISABETHAN!
    14. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    15. toracat toracat, 5 years ago
      WOW! 845LB. grapes, maybe make 250-300 bottles wine!!
    16. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Many thanks DON!
    17. RonM RonM, 5 years ago
      Good story. I'm gonna google it and see what the vine looks like today.
    18. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Many thanks RON M!
    19. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Many thanks GEO!
    20. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Many thanks MANIKIN!
    21. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Many thanks GARGOYLECOLLECTOR!
    22. racer4four racer4four, 5 years ago
      Hope you are feeling better today Kevin.
      This warm weather has to help!
    23. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Many thanks BELLTOWN.

      Feeling a bit perkier today Karen, thanks!
    24. Roycroftbooksfromme1, 5 years ago
      a chimmmmmmmmmmmmey sweepers delight .. looks like two years worth of work for him..smiling, nice pictures..............
    25. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      A sweep is as lucky, as lucky can be .....
    26. Zowie Zowie, 5 years ago
      Such wonderful information you must go to a lot of trouble with your research thank you for the lesson
    27. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Many thanks BELLTOWN'n ZOWIE too!
    28. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Many thanks MANIKIN!
    29. inky inky, 5 years ago
      I just love all those chimneys!....:-)
    30. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Many thanks INKY!
    31. Zowie Zowie, 5 years ago
      Pleasure Kev I love all the information you put with them. I'm having problems trying to put some photos down it's going through the motion but will not open picture after it has run through. Frustrating. Have a good weekend what's left of it
    32. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Just persevere Zowie. It mat be a problem at the other end. Contact them at CW. They are always very helpful. Always!
    33. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Many thanks FORTAPACHE!
    34. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
    35. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Many thanks POPS52!
    36. southcop southcop, 5 years ago
      Love It!!
    37. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Many thanks SOUTHCOP!
    38. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Many thanks ANTIQUES IN NJ!
    39. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Many thanks GARY!
    40. Zowie Zowie, 5 years ago
      Thanks for the tip Kevin I'll give it another go today or tomorrow as have some things on today & if I still have a problem I will
    41. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      No probs, Zowie!
    42. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Many thanks SOUTHCOP!
    43. Zowie Zowie, 5 years ago
      Thanks mate I finely got at least one lot down apparently we are having problems with the lines here not enough port holes for everyone with the ADSL & NBN they are at present expecting at times if we are unlucky enough to have months without electricity putting in new system so the paper said today. Who knows what the heck we can't do a thing about it. Be safe
    44. vetraio50 vetraio50, 5 years ago
      Many thanks PETEY!

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