Author Archives: Philippa Bernard

The Gordon Riots

In 1780 London was devastated by terrible riots, instigated by Lord George Gordon against the Catholics.  More than 800 people died and much of the city was destroyed.  Fires broke out as Catholic chapels were attacked, the prisons were broken into and the prisoners released.  Lord George, an unstable Scottish peer, was arrested.  He converted to Judaism, and ended his days in Newgate as an orthodox Jew.





The History of the English Garden

This talk covers the development of the garden in England from the coming of the Romans to present day designs.  The founding of the great monasteries continued the tradition of gardening, supported by the medieval small formal gardens for the wealthy aristocrats of the time.  Tudor gardens surrounded the grand homes of nobles such as Bess of Hardwick, to be followed in the eighteenth century by the great landscape gardeners such as Capability Brown.  Victorian England saw the activities of the plant hunters bringing exotic plants home from the east and the designs of the great gardeners such as Gertrude Jekyll and William Robinson.  In our own day small suburban gardens have come into their own to make gardening the fastest-growing hobby in the country.

Lecture Subjects

I provide lectures and talks on a range of subjects, from Elizabethan England to The History of the English Garden, Chaos in the Capital, the History of the Jews in England, English Books and Book Collecting, and many more.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews

An account of the history and development of the Board of Deputies, the     representative body of the Anglo-Jewish community.  The foundation of the Board in 1760 led to disputes over the inclusion of progressive Jews in this country, problems of marriage registration and the religious and political influences brought to bear on its administration.  The talk includes a review of how Deputies are elected, the committees which handle its day-to-day work and the problems it faces for the future.