Early Years


c4e27bGertrude Jekyll, garden designer and author, was born on 2 November 1843 in London. It was the sixth year of the reign of Queen Victoria (1819-1901).


She was the fifth of seven children of Edward Jekyll and his wife, Julia, nee Hammersley. One brother, Walter Jekyll, was a clergyman, music teacher and writer; he was friendly with the author, Robert Louis Stevenson, who may have borrowed his name for the title of his book, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.


In 1848, when Gertrude was five, the Jekyll family left London for Bramley House, set amidst the rural heaths, ponds and pinewoods of Surrey, 30 miles south of London. The large garden was paradise for a small girl; her vivid childhood memories never faded and were the foundation of her later achievements.