James Pulham & Son
- Written by Kate Banister
A prolific period
All detailed information about the Pulhams' work after 1877 has to be gleaned from contemporary journals and estate records. It would seem that this was their most prolific period, when they worked at Buckingham Palace, Wisley and many other large private gardens, as well as making balustrades, statues, jardinieres, bird baths and various other items.
At Folkestone they were employed in 1920 to construct large rocky walls to decorate the cliff path, which had been built to allow the passage of bath chairs between the cliff-top promenade and the undercliff walk. The walls cover an area some 75 metres wide and 50 metres high.
Undoubtedly the most impressive example of Pulham landscaping can be seen at Dewstow, Monmouth. Here at the end of the 19th century a seven-acre garden was laid out with ponds, ravines, grottoes and underground tunnels for Henry Oakley, a director of the Great Western Railway. Almost forgotten and largely buried for the last 50 years, the garden is now being restored (www.dewstow.com ).
The second James died in 1898, leaving his son and grandson, James Robert Pulham, in the business. One of these opened a nursery in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire and the firm won many awards at Chelsea for their rock gardens. But two world wars had a depressing effect on the business. Horticultural fashions changed and money was not available for large garden projects. James Pulham & Son finally closed its doors in 1945.