From the nurseries of Milton Keynes to the rooftops of London
The Bridgman & Bridgman story started back in the 1970s when horticulturalist Neil Bridgman and his wife relocated to Milton Keynes to work for the visionary Milton Keynes Development Corporation. Neil worked on the tree nursery at Milton Keynes Village and his young son, Chris, would soon join him in his passion for horticulture.
From the age of about five Chris would spend weekends and school holidays working alongside his father: “Those childhood memories really inspired me to go and study horticulture after I left school.”
After working together for numerous years, the father-and-son team made the decision to venture out on their own, establishing Bridgman & Bridgman LLP in 2006.
Chris says it’s a pleasure to be based in his hometown of Milton Keynes: “It really is the city of trees, and the city is so well-maintained with green space and biodiversity being a top priority. It’s amazing how quickly it’s grown. When I was young my parents used to say; ‘we remember when this was all fields’ and now I’m the one saying that! But it’s fantastic to see it carrying on and the model still being used in the expansion.”
The year 2016 saw Bridgman & Bridgman celebrate their 10th Anniversary. Over the past decade the team have worked on a number of prestigious projects across the UK, from landscape construction at the Olympic Park to installing green roofs on Scandinavian modular houses in the Outer Hebrides.
More recently, Bridgman & Bridgman has created a unique niche in the relatively new area of green roofing: “A lot of the green roofs that have been built up until now have been created by traditional roofing contractors,” says Chris, “But there’s definitely a need for horticultural knowledge in the construction that makes our skills essential for creating beautiful and lasting living roofs.”
Green roofs provide a whole host of benefits which include preventing flooding, increasing biodiversity and improving air quality and preventing overheating in urban areas. By their very nature, they contribute to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. Bridgman & Bridgman decided that they were best placed to produce living roofs with all the features you would expect in a traditional garden, making them unique as one of the few green roofing companies in the UK with a horticultural background. As part of their development, they also partnered with a German green roofing provider: “The Germans are leaders in green roofing; they’ve got so much experience and knowledge that we want to glean. We want to use the very best tried and tested products to make sure that the roofs we build are sustainable, so we follow their recommendations.”
Chris is clearly passionate about what he does, and when asked why the company decided to specialise in green roofing, he says: “It’s such a specialist area and people always question and ask what it is that we do and it’s really great to share that knowledge. A real benefit to me is the challenge of the projects; you’re working at height, using cranes, there are a lot more logistical challenges which I find interesting.”
So what does the duo have planned for the next ten years? By 2020 Bridgman & Bridgman are looking to focus their work entirely on green roofing.