The first professor of landscape architecture

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Weddle Landscape Design was founded in 1957 by Professor Arnold Weddle.

Prof Weddle was the first professor of landscape architecture in the UK and the founder of Sheffield University’s department of landscape architecture, which is rated as probably the best department in Europe and possibly the world.

Landscape architecture developed after the Second World War, when major reconstruction was under way and got a major boost from the creation of the Town and Country Planning Act.

Prior to the Act there had been no requirement to have plans approved and only wealthy philanthropists had bothered with green spaces and landscaping, says Mike Browell, who studied under Prof Weddle in 1974 and joined his firm three years later.

“He believed that if you were to be a good teacher you had to do it yourself and he always employed students off his own course,” adds Mike.

Weddle laid the foundations for the university department that attracts so many Chinese students today.

“When I started at Sheffield, there were 12 of us, including one foreign student – and he was Mexican. Now, 80 per cent of the people are Chinese and they have even employed a Chinese secretary to help them.

“We have had Chinese working with us since 2008. We have eight people here, two Chinese working full time and two part time. If we were only working on UK projects, we would be bumping along with a couple of people,” Mike Browell adds.