L’expérience des jardins à Rouen au XIXe siècle by Bénédicte PERCHERON – Archives du Calvados (France)

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L’expérience des jardins à Rouen au XIXe siècle by Bénédicte PERCHERON – Archives du Calvados (France)

Garden experience in Rouen in the 19th century

Once reserved for the clergy and leading aristocratic families, the gardens of Rouen gradually opened their gates to the general public over the 19th century. After becoming national, the rarest botanic collections served as public education tools, before being visible to all. In the middle of the century, Rouen’s narrow streets and its huddled insalubrious homes left little space for vegetation within the town. Major modernisation work, inspired by Haussmann’s urban planning, gave way to new green areas, Solferino Square in particular. Later, Rouen was endowed with squares and gardens for use by labourers. Gardens then became synonymous to hygiene, by facilitating the circulation of fresh air. They also boasted a strong social dimension, given their location in the heart of popular districts. The conference will focus on the experience of gardens in the 19th century, from their design to their usage.

Bénédicte Percheron

Bénédicte Percheron is a research engineer for the Urbanature project (knowledge and culture of urban biodiversity), initiated by the Gustave Eiffel University. She is a doctor in contemporary history, specialised in the history of science and in heritage studies. She is the author of a thesis, prepared under the direction of Yannick Marec and presented in 2014, entitled ‘Les sciences naturelles à Rouen au XIXe siècle : muséologie, vulgarisation et réseaux scientifiques (1789 – 1923)’ (Natural science in 19th-century Rouen: museology, popularisation and scientific networks (1789-1923)), published in 2017 by Matériologiques. She was a post-doctoral student at the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris for the ANR Biolographe project from 2015 to 2017 and worked on the transfer of biological knowledge through literature in the 19th century. She is an associate researcher with the University of Rouen history research group: GRHis EA 3831. She also holds a PhD in musicology, presented in 2007.