Lady Allen Trust: The Beginnings of a Legacy

Reaching for Her Dream


Lady Allen (Marjory Allen of Hurtwood, U.K.) built her theory on playtime for children based upon life experiences as a child. She worked with children that were not afforded the environment that fostered play. These underprivileged children did not have the secret places to create their world of imagination, and Lady Allen wanted to make that happen. Her story is such an amazing inspiration that one of my close friends became taken by her passion and started to donate a portion of his business   proceeds ( to non-profit child welfare organizations.

Lady Allen’s Education


Marjory Allen obtained her formal education at Bedales, U.K. where she immersed herself in books. She walked away from Bedales with no degree or qualifications.


Further on, Lady Allen decidedly chose to pursue gardening which landed her at the University of Reading, U.K. Her time was limited at this university because of her rebellious nature.


The Social Circle


Lady Allen was introduced to the aristocratic lifestyle through her brother (Colin) who was an artist studying near London. Cafe Royale was the locale where Lady Allen and her brother were to meet his socialite crowd.


Sporting a trendy bob haircut and smart fashion sense, Lady Allen fit right in with the high-class style of mingling. It was quite ironic how through her life, she tended to surround herself with powerful and intelligent people. Friendships were never forced with such people but were organic and naturally formed.


The Green Thumb Gardener


Lady Allen began to receive commissions for garden designing.  Her brother Colin invited her to join him in Rome where opportunity awaited to visit the vast gardens that blanketed the ancient city.


It was in Rome where she began to get her ideas in how to create the beautiful gardens she envisioned.

Marriage, Children and Family Life


While in Rome, she met Clifford Allen who was a friend of her brother’s. Clifford was a diplomat who was a pacifist during World War I. He refused to conform to the roles placed within the armed services. While in prison the third time, he contracted TB and lost the use of one lung. This was to plague him and weaken him for the remainder of his life.


Falling in love with Clifford, Lady Allen and he moved in together and married. Finding out that she was with child the excellent opportunity to design the gardens of Glyndebourne presented itself. She was about to embark on this gardening job and becoming a mother at the same time.


Over time, Lady Allen and her beloved husband Clifford filled their home with children. The Allen family were somewhat liberal-minded and loved by their community.


Gardening at the Infamous Selfridges Store


Lady Allen was faced with the prospect of being the breadwinner for the family because of her husband’s failing health. She was hired by Selfridges Store in London as their gardener who was to transform the roof into a wonderland of greens and flowers.

The rooftop garden in Selfridges was to be the setting for events and shows and would bring recognition to Lady Allen’s talents in gardening. During this time she and a few of her colleagues established the prestigious “Institute of Landscape Architects.”


Little did she know, she was embarking upon the beginnings of her lasting legacy!

Read about Laddy Allen

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