About us

A Short History of the Society

The Sweet Pea was introduced to the UK in 1699. A bicentenary exhibition was held at Crystal Palace, London on 20-21 July 1900. It was a tremendous success and prompted the inauguration of the National Sweet Pea Society.

The Society’s first exhibition was held in the new Methodist Central Hall Westminster on 25-26 July 1901. At this show the first Spencer variety was unveiled with much longer stems and larger, frilly flowers.

Over the years regular exhibitions have seen the introduction of countless new varieties. From 1905, the Society has published an annual booklet to record the developments of the year (with the exception of 1941-43). The NSPS Annual includes a great diversity of articles and remains our flagship publication.

A formal committee was established in 1906 to organise variety trials and this subsequently became the Trials Committee. The Society continues to hold trials, almost annually, often in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society.

In the 1930’s the Society produced a booklet on Sweet Peas which later became the ‘How to grow’ booklet. This has been updated through numerous renewals and is now titled ‘Enjoy Sweet Peas’.

The Society expanded its publications in 1939 with the addition of four Bulletins a year. The number and size of Bulletins has varied over the years but now stands at two per year.

Thomas Stevenson sweet peas

Objects of the Society

The Objects of the Society are to disseminate knowledge of Sweet Peas and other Lathyrus Species, to encourage, improve and extend the cultivation of these flowers by means of scientific trials, the holding of exhibitions and displays, by publications and other activities.

Officers and Committee

President Emeritus

John Pratt


Roger Parsons

Chairman of Committees

Professor Alison Shreeve

Deputy Chairman of Committees

Graeme Hollingdale

General Secretary

Carole Tate


Caroline Ball

Membership Secretary

Julia Beardmore

General Committee

Laurie Burrell

Phillipa Cooper

Nicky Edwards

Darren Everest

Gill Hazell

Jenny Morgan

Lewis Morgan

Phil Johnson

Roz Warley

Trustees and Executive Committee


Chairman of Committees

Deputy Chairman of Committees

Honorary Treasurer

Honorary Secretary

3 Elected Representatives from the committee: Laurie Burrell, Gill Hazell, Roger Parsons



The rules of the Society, agreed at the Annual General Meeting in March 2016, can be downloaded HERE

Contact us

Join now!

Membership means you will become friend to a host of other members, some world famous, many just keen and enthusiastic growers, but all sincerely pleased to meet you at various Meetings, Lectures and Shows.

In addition, you will be able to turn to experts for helpful advice and a ready response to your queries.