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Piers, Parks and Pies - Brighton's latest seaside attraction and its links to the past; why Lancelot Brown was so capable; and William Sitwell on the genius of Lord Fred Woolton.

Helen Castor is joined by the architectural writer and cultural commentator Travis Elborough and garden historian Deborah Trentham.

Tom Holland takes a ride on Brighton's new attraction, the British Airways i360, and is joined at 450 feet by Professor Fred Gray to gain new insight into the history of seaside attractions. Surprisingly, the new doughnut on a stick (as locals are describing it), offers similar experiences and challenges to those of the West Pier which opened 150 years ago.

In Norfolk, Radio 4's organic gardening legend Bob Flowerdew gets to grips with a character who, on the face of it, is his horticultural opposite. Lancelot 'Capability' Brown was born 300 years ago and Bob visits one of his masterpieces - Kimberley Hall - to ask landscape historian Professor Tom Williamson where the neatness and order of the English country house came from and what it was supposed to do for those who lived with it.

We continue our series of forgotten history heroes as food writer William Sitwell nominates the man who became famous for his pie but who also kept Britain fed during World War 2 - Lord Fred Woolton

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

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28 minutes

Last on

Tue 16 Aug 2016 15:00

Bob Flowerdew and Professor Tom Williamson

Bob Flowerdew and Professor Tom Williamson
Bob Flowerdew and Professor Tom Williamson at Kimberley Hall near Norwich.

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Helen Castor and her guests explore the stories that are Making History.

Today, Helen is joined by the historian of gardens, Deborah Trentham  and the author Travis Elborough


Capability Brown

To celebrate the 300th birthday of the man who led a revolution in the back yards of the aristocracy, Radio 4’s gardening guru, Bob Flowerdew, joined landscape historian Professor Tom Williamson from the University of East Anglia on the terrace at Kimberley Hall in Norfolk – which got the Capability Brown touch in 1778

Image 1 - Bob Flowerdew and Professor Tom Williamson at Kimberley Hall near Norwich.

Useful Links

University of East Anglia

Capability Brown

The Telegraph


Further Reading

Brown, D., Williamson, T.

Lancelot Brown and the Capability Men: Landscape revolution in eighteenth-century England

Reaktion Books 2016

ISBN 9781780236445

Travis Elborough,

A Walk in the Park.

Jonathan Cape 2016

ISBN 978-0224099820


Seaside Attractions

David Marks and Julia Barfield the brains behind the London Eye have now designed something to be known as the British Airways i360. It’s been built where people could once access Brighton’s famous West Pier. It’s a futuristic structure which incorporates a glass viewing pod rising up a 500ft concrete tower. Tom Holland met with Professor Fred Gray from the University of Sussex and the designers to discover that this new viewing platform comes from a long line of seaside attractions.


Useful Links

British Airways i360

Brighton West Pier Trust


Further Reading

Fred Gray

Designing The Seaside

Reaktion Books 2009

ISBN 9781861894403


Making History Plinth

Food critic William Sitwell, author of Eggs or Anarchy sings the praises of Lord Fred Woolton, Minister of Food in World War Two.


Useful links

The Spectator

Recipe for Lord Woolton Pie


Further Reading

William Sitwell

Eggs Or Anarchy

Simon & Schuster 2016

ISBN 9781471151088


Making History is produced by Nick Patrick and is a Pier Production for BBC Radio 4.


  • Tue 16 Aug 2016 15:00