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Mr Edward Kemp

Edward Kemp was born in 1817. He was a garden apprentice under Joseph Paxton during the 1830s. He became a leading figure in the design of parks and gardens in mid-Victorian England. He developed Birkenhead Park from 1843, following planning by Paxton. Work at this site led to more commissions, including flower gardens, winter gardens and American gardens for private houses.

Edward Kemp was a notable 19th-century landscape architect and garden designer, born on October 23, 1817, in Knaresborough, England. He played a pivotal role in the development of numerous public parks and gardens across the United Kingdom, leaving a lasting impact on the field of landscape architecture.

Kemp's passion for horticulture and landscape design emerged early in his life. He began his career as an apprentice to Joseph Paxton, a renowned gardener and architect, at the age of 16. Under Paxton's mentorship, Kemp honed his skills in horticulture, garden design, and the principles of landscape architecture.

During his tenure with Paxton, Kemp worked on several significant projects, including the development of Birkenhead Park in Merseyside, often regarded as the world's first publicly funded park. His contributions to the layout and design of Birkenhead Park were instrumental in establishing the concept of public parks as accessible green spaces for all social classes. Work at this site led to more commissions, including flower gardens, winter gardens and American gardens for private houses.

Kemp's expertise and innovative approach led to his appointment as the first Superintendent of Parks for the Liverpool Corporation in 1845. In this role, he oversaw the planning and design of various parks and green spaces in Liverpool, implementing his vision of creating beautiful, functional, and accessible areas for recreation and leisure.

His influence extended beyond Liverpool, as he was involved in the design and enhancement of numerous parks and gardens throughout the UK, including Stanley Park in Liverpool, Preston Park in Brighton, and Queen's Park in Glasgow, among others.

Kemp's legacy in landscape architecture lies not only in his designs but also in his advocacy for the social and health benefits of public parks. He believed that well-designed green spaces were essential for the physical and mental well-being of urban populations.

Despite his significant contributions to the field, Kemp's work has often been overshadowed by other prominent landscape architects of his time. However, his dedication to creating accessible and aesthetically pleasing parks remains an integral part of the history of landscape architecture.

He produced How to Lay Out a Small Garden in 1850, which was into its third edition by 1864. In 1851, he published The Parks, Gardens etc. of London, which compiled features from visits to 81 public and private parks and gardens.

He retired in the 1880s and died in March 1891.


  1. Meller, Hugh & Parsons, J.M.. "The Making of Liverpool." Liverpool University Press, 2008.
  2. Taylor, Patrick. "The Oxford Companion to the Garden." Oxford University Press, 2006.
  3. Jarvis, Dennis. "The English Park: Royal, Private, Public." Yale University Press, 2011.

Waymark, Janet, ‘Kemp, Edward (1817-1891)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Oct 2006) <; [ accessed 25 June 2009]

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