The Ruhleben Horticultural Society

The Ruhleben Internment Camp was established in November 1914 on the site of a racetrack near Berlin, Germany. Following the outbreak of the First World War, all male British citizens between the ages of 17 and 65 living, working or holidaying in Germany were apprehended and about 4000 of them were brought to Ruhleben. At its peak there were 5,500 men in the camp, and about 2,000 men spent the entire four years of the war there. Camp internees were permitted to administer their own affairs and many sporting and interest societies were formed.

In the beginning horticulture at the camp was limited to a few enthusiasts, but interest grew and in 1916 a gift of seeds from the Crown Princess of Sweden prompted the formation of a horticultural society. The first meeting of the Ruhleben Horticultural Society was held on 25 September 1916. On 12 December 1916 the society became affiliated with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).