VWG Vine Picker in Action 2
National Geographic’s 1938 photo depicts a new innovation best described as a grape picker’s stairway to heaven.

Library steps on rails are a familiar sight.  It seems that Sark’s Seigneur WT Collings (mid 1850’s) seized the initiative with a new design, tweaked for harvesting grapes.  In the second half of the Victorian era, the growing of dessert grapes became a major industry on the Island, requiring the building of full-span greenhouses which were built, in the main, by shipwrights, not domestic building carpenters.  The majority of grapes were Canon Hall, preferred by the affluent London market for their sweetness and size.

As part of Guernsey Botanical Trust’s (GBT) restoration of the Victorian Walled Garden at Saumarez Park, this Vine Ladder will be reconstructed, installed and fully functioning in the newly built Vine House.

At time of writing, it appears that the design and manufacture of the Vine House Ladder, remained within the Bailiwick of Guernsey. With the exception of La Seigneurie in Sark, no images or references on the internet to any such ladders, anywhere, have been found.  If this remains so, GBT may be investigating a unique “Made in The Bailiwick” innovation.

With your help, the search is on to recover more information about an important part of Guernsey’s cultural history.  If you have photographs, snippets of information, from the complete article through to brackets, hinges, wheels and rails please be in touch.  The devil is in the detail and the detail is eagerly sought!

Further Reading

To make contact: Mike de Carteret