There are now some ten colleges and schools where women can learn practical gardening and horticultural science. There is also a Women's London Gardening Association and a Woman's Agricultural and Horticultural International Union. The pioneer training college is that of Swanley, Kent, founded in 1889, from which many students have gone into successful careers as private or market gardeners, teachers and lecturers of horticulture, and as colonists. The college was originally founded for men, but after two years decided to close its doors to men and take only women, so large was the majority of applications which came from girls. Thus, from the Swanley Eden, Eve ousted Adam.
Two women hold the Victoria Medal of Honour of the Royal Horticultural Society, the highest distinction in the profession. They are Miss Gertrude Jekyll and Miss Ellen Willmott, who were elected when the medal was instituted.
Miss Jekyll has devoted herself specially to landscape gardening, for which her early training as an artist specially qualified her, and with it she allied house decoration. She was joint editor of "The Garden" for some years, and is the author of some eight volumes on flower culture and landscape gardening.
The other medallist, Miss Ellen Willmott, is known as a distinguished horticulturist and a learned botanist, who is constantly expending her wonderful energy, deep knowledge, and ample means in the advancement of these studies.
Amongst other names prominently connected with this fascinating profession are those of the Hon. Frances Wolseley, founder and principal of the School for Lady Gardeners, at Glynde, Sussex; and Lady Warwick, who founded the Horticultural College for Women at Studley, and a science and technical school for boys and girls on her Essex estate of Easton Lodge, where the instructors specially aimed at training the pupils for agricultural pursuits.
We turn now to the sister professions of agriculture and dairy farming, in which women are attaining technical and practical proficiency. The old adage would have us believe that "Adam delved and Eve span," but one wonders how Eve obtained a spinning-wheel in those primeval days. It is much more likely that she left tending her roses in the garden to help Adam in preparing the land for the pioneer farm of the world's history. And ever since, the wives and daughters of agriculturists have taken an important share in the work, in some counties doing the heaviest drudgery in the fields, and in all lands caring for the dairy, the poultry, and the domestic management of the farm. A great many women, too, all over the world, farm on their own account, although they do not come before the public. Our own Colonies offer a wide field for women in this industry.
But we live in an age of examinations and tests of technical and theoretical knowledge in matters of farming which would have amazed the farmers' wives of the past.
The modern woman bent on the profession of dairy farming and agriculture now aims at graduating at University College, Reading, with its Dairy Institute, and after a three years' course may emerge triumphantly with the B.sc. Degree in Agriculture of the University of London.
There are several schools and colleges in Great Britain and Ireland, to say nothing of county council classes in various districts, where women can obtain training in agricultural and dairy work. The Royal Agricultural Society of England admits women for membership equally with men, and many women exhibit at the annual show of the Society. The National Diploma in Agriculture, of the Agricultural Examination
Board, is open to women, and some five women have taken the N.d.a. The first woman to attain that distinction was Miss Kate M. Nickson, a student of the Harris Institute, Preston, in the year 1905. A hundred and sixty-four women have taken the National Diploma in Dairying (N.D.D.). A most interesting experiment has been in progress for ten years at Lovegrove's Farm and Dairy at Checkendon, Reading, a farm of 100 acres managed and worked by women. It is owned by Miss Kate Le Lacheur, a graduate of Newnham College, whose life as a hard-working farmer demonstrates that the higher learning does not incapacitate a woman for manual labour, domestic or agricultural. There is nothing about a dairy or farm which Miss Le Lacheur cannot do if necessity
Miss Annie Hall, the first woman to be admitted a member of the Society of Architects
Photo, Ellis & Walery arises. She can be "housewife," dairymaid, horseman, or chauffeur, and sometimes all rolled into one. During the winter of 1911 this intrepid lady farmer was her own "cowman," feeding, cleaning, and milking twelve cows daily. She was the first dairy proprietor to use a motor-car for the distribution of milk.
At Lovegrove's Farm the pupils daily demonstrate that every detail of work, from driving a plough to the lighter duties of the dairy, can be done by women.
The Colonial Training School for Ladies, established by Miss Turner, at Arlesey, Herts, affords another interesting example of the up-to-date training of women in horticulture and the lighter branches of farming. Its special object is to fit its pupils for the exigencies of Colonial life, and the management of small holdings. Only women are employed on the premises, with the exception of a man to look after the pigs, etc.
The realm of architecture next claims our attention. To Miss Annie Hall, a lady following architecture as a profession, belongs the honour of being the first, and, so far, the only, woman admitted a member of the Society of Architects. She qualified by examination, and was admitted in 1911.
Previously, the Royal Institute of British Architects had admitted women as Associates. Miss E. M. Charles passed the very stiff examination of that body in 1898, and her sister, Miss B. A. Charles, in 1900, and both were admitted as Associates. In 1905, Miss E. M. Charles carried off the silver medal of the Institute for the best essay.