River Wissey Lovell Fuller

The National Fruit Collection

February 2004

Ruhte exlains the background to the National Fruit Collection

The National Fruit Collection


he National Fruit Collection is located at Brogdale Farm on the outskirts of Faversham in Kent. The one hundred and fifty acres contain over 2300 apple varieties, 550 types of pear, 350 plum varieties and 220 cherry, as well as hundreds of different currants, gooseberries, nuts, medlars and quinces.

Brogdale Farm was established by the

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

(MAFF) between 1952 and 1954 when the

National Fruit Trials collection was relocated

there from the Royal Horticultural Society's

Wisley Gardens in Surrey.

Fruit trials had begun at Wisley in 1921 and many of their fruit trees had come from the original National Fruit Collection, established at Chiswick during the early I 800s by the London Horticultural Society (which became the Royal Horticultural society in 1861).

The Brogdale Experimental Horticulture Station's fruit collection grew over the years to include many foreign varieties (only about 750 of the apple varieties are actually of UK origin) and it assumed a world-wide reputation as an authority on temperate fruit varieties.

However, in 1990 the Government announced that MAFF was to close down the National Fruit Trials experimental station and

concentrate its research work "elsewhere".

There was such a public outcry that this unique collection of Britain's fruit heritage might be lost, that the great and the good got moving to preserve it.

Prince Charles had visited the site after the initial announcement in 1989 and subsequently, through the Duchy of Cornwall, joined forces with Swale Borough Council to provide the newly formed charity, Brogdale Horticultural Trust, with a mortgage so that the site could be purchased.

Supplied by Ruthe Gray

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