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Mr Edward Milner

Who was Edward Milner?

Edward Milner, a distinguished British landscape architect and garden designer, was born on August 19, 1819, in London. His contributions to the field of landscape architecture have left an indelible mark on numerous gardens and landscapes in Britain and beyond.

Milner's early years were steeped in a love for nature and gardening, which laid the foundation for his illustrious career. His initial training occurred under the tutelage of his father, Isaac Milner, a nurseryman and landscape designer. This upbringing instilled in him a deep appreciation for horticulture and garden design.

Life and Work:

He embarked on his professional journey by joining the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, where he honed his skills and expanded his knowledge of plants and landscaping. Milner's talent was soon recognized, leading to several significant commissions.

Edward was later apprenticed to the Head Gardener, Joseph Paxton. He went to Paris in 1841, and became Paxton's assistant on his return.

Milner was foreman of works at Prince's Park in Liverpool, and later superintendent of the same site. He became superintendent of works on the project to re-erect Crystal Palace in Sydenham in 1852, again working under Paxton. He worked with Paxton again in 1856 on the creation of the People's Park, Halifax.

Milner worked as an independent landscape gardener from the mid-1850s. He undertook several private commissions as well as designing a series of parks in Preston and Lincoln arboretum. Milner became principal of the Crystal Palace School in 1881, with his son Henry Ernest Milner as his assistant for many years.

One of his career-defining moments came when he partnered with renowned architect Decimus Burton. Their collaboration resulted in the layout and design of the gardens in Regent's Park, London, showcasing Milner's keen eye for combining form and function.

Milner's reputation continued to flourish, and he became known for his skilful incorporation of both formal and naturalistic elements in his designs. His work often featured terraces, water features, and meticulously planned flowerbeds, which captured the essence of Victorian garden design.

A testament to his expertise is the impressive transformation of the gardens at Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire. Milner's redesign of the estate's grounds earned him widespread acclaim, solidifying his status as a preeminent landscape architect of his time.

His innovative approach to landscape architecture extended beyond Britain, as he undertook projects in Europe and the United States. His international influence further cemented his legacy as a visionary in the field.

Despite his prolific career, Milner remained modest and dedicated to his craft until his passing on July 20, 1884, leaving behind a rich legacy of gardens that continue to inspire and delight enthusiasts and scholars alike.


  1. Hadfield, Miles. "Edward Milner: His Life and Work." Garden History 2, no. 3 (1974): 11-31.
  2. Musgrave, Toby. "The Planting of Regent's Park: Decimus Burton, John Nash, and the Landscape of Regency London." Garden History 32, no. 2 (2004): 187-207.
  3. Desmond, Ray. "Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturists: Including Plant Collectors, Flower Painters, and Garden Designers." CRC Press, 1994.
  4. Elliott, Brent ‘Milner, Edward (1819-1884)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Oct 2006) [ accessed 28 June 2009]

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