All That Remains
Tree, Dartford, Kent, 2009
For the past three years, I have photographed what is left of an arboretum on the site of the Joyce Green Hospital in Dartford, Kent, southeast of London, England. The hospital was opened in 1903 for the treatment of patients who had contracted smallpox and other infectious diseases.
Between 1919 and 1935, the hospital’s gardener, Harry Hopkins, planted more than 500 exotic trees around the hospital complex. The hospital was closed in 2000. In 2006, the abandoned buildings were demolished while many of the trees continued to thrive.
The local council then decided to build a new “sustainable community” and applied orders to preserve more than 200 of an estimated 1,250 trees, including stands of English elm and sycamore. A cursory study of the site suggested that far fewer than 200 survived. I was concerned that some of these trees had been chopped down, and felt compelled to produce a visual record of those that remain. — Jason Orton