English Heritage is on the search for a new Garden Supervisor for their property at Osborne, Queen Victoria’s family residence on the Isle of Wight. Current supervisor Alan Hickey (pictured) has announced his retirement after 37 years on the job.
Alan Hickey started working for English Heritage in 1986 as a steward at Osborne and was taken on by the gardens team the following year to help clear the damage from the 1987 storm. Since becoming the Garden Supervisor in 2003, Alan has been instrumental in improving the visitor experience within the prestigious heritage gardens, which were mostly planted by Prince Albert in the 1850s.
Under Alan’s leadership, Osborne’s award-winning gardens have gone from strength to strength, bringing to life the full history of the remarkable site. Over the past 20 years, Alan has overseen large scale changes to the gardens – including fully opening the terraces after a conservation project, extending visitor access to the wider estate, opening Osborne’s beach area including the ornamented Valley and Rhododendron Walks, and the re-interpretation of the Swiss Cottage.
Alan has also played a key role in developing the garden team and has been instrumental in integrating garden trainees from the Professional Gardeners Guild and Historic and Botanic Garden traineeships, as well as from overseas.
“Alan will be sorely missed by everyone that works at Osborne. He is the lynchpin of the gardens team: co-ordinating work, leading the team, implementing the seasonal bedding schemes and being heavily involved in all aspects of the garden’s care and improvements. He’s a man who can make things happen and, whilst we’re sad to see him go, we wish him all the best for his retirement,” says Toby Beasley, Head Gardener at Osborne.
“Osborne is one of the country’s most prestigious gardens, inspiring visitors from across the world and reflecting the grandeur that would have been familiar to Queen Victoria. As Alan retires, we are excited to be looking for another passionate, creative and dynamic gardener to take on the challenge of nurturing this remarkable heritage garden and team.”
English Heritage is now recruiting for the Garden Supervisor role at Osborne. For further details on the role, please visit the English Heritage jobs page: www.english-heritage.org.uk/about-us/jobs