A curator and local historian, my personal research focusses on the history of Chiswick, where I live, and the neighbouring parish of Brentford. My book Flood! the Brentford Flood of 1841 won the first London & Middlesex Archaeological Society Local History Publications Award in 2003. I have been researching nursery gardeners in the parishes along the Thames since 2006 and the fruits of that work form the basis for this web-site, for talks and for occasional articles elsewhere. I was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London early in 2020.

In real life I began a museum career at Vestry House Museum in Walthamstow, I set up and ran new local history museums in the London Boroughs of Brent and Wandsworth, tried to rescue an old-established museum service in Newham and advised the Fairground Heritage Trust in the mid 1990s. Between 1996 and 2000 I was Deputy Director of the UK government’s adviser on museums, The Museums & Galleries Commission, and I have worked as a freelance heritage consultant since then.

I helped create another new museum for Havering and co-ordinated the refurbishment and redisplay of Hogarth’s House in Chiswick. Recent projects have included interpretative planning advice to Turner’s House Trust as well as a period advising Berry Brothers & Rudd on their historic collections and archives. My current project is The Mulberry Garden at Hogarth’s House; a handsome learning studio has been built alongside the House, for events, activities and classes, while the garden is being laid out as and “exhibition” using planting and features to tell its whole story since the 1670s. It was intended to open to visitors in 2020.

To contact me with new information or queries please email valbottmuseums@gmail.com.