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Temperate House - Kew Gardens, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 28.473 W 000° 17.681
30U E 687872 N 5706069
Quick Description: The Temperate House is a large greenhouse, built in the Victorian era, that houses Kew's collection of temperate plants. The building is currently (January 2017) undergoing restoration and should re-open in 2018.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 1/7/2017 5:25:21 AM
Waymark Code: WMTTR0
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member monkeys4ever
Views: 0

Long Description:

The Kew Gardens website tells us about the Temperate House:

This historic building - the largest surviving Victorian glasshouse in the world - is currently closed for vital restoration.

Built in 1860, the Temperate House is the largest surviving Victorian glasshouse in the world. It covers 4,880 square metres and extends to 19 metres high. With Victorian plant collectors bringing back ever more species from around the globe, Kew needed somewhere to house its growing collection of semi-hardy and temperate plants. Kew Director Sir William Hooker was a great advocate for a new glasshouse and in 1859 commissioned architect Decimus Burton (designer of the Palm House) to design a grand new Temperate House.

Decimus Burton created a complex and ornate design for a beautiful building with a high, light-filled main atrium, grand entrances to east and west, twinned octagons to north and south, and wing blocks extending out from each octagon. His designs included soaring arches on slim metal columns, wide sloping terraced roofs of glass, clerestory style windows, opening roof-lights and box vents to ensure a good flow of air, and a rain water collection and irrigation system. His drawings show all the details for metalwork, ornate carvings and sculptures, and the many roof mounted urns and other statuary.

The Temperate House was officially opened, unfinished, in 1863. Because costs had soared during construction, it was not completed for another four decades, meaning that the blocks, though looking almost identical, are built in iron work (South) and steel (North).

The glasshouse was quickly filled with plants from around the world, enabling the study and preservation of a wide range of temperate plants. Its galleried walkway provides a special view from the heights looking out at the tops of tall palms and trees, with great views down into ferns and lush planting.

Sometimes referred to as the ‘Winter Gardens’, following the Victorian fashion for glasshouses to promenade in, the Temperate House, adjacent to the tree lined Pagoda vista, became a popular place to visit, then walk and relax on the lawns – as it still is today.

The Temperate House is a Grade I listed building with the entry at the Historic England website telling us:

Begun in 1860 under Decimus Burton; not completed until 1897-9. Three communicating conservatories in iron, glass and stucco. Central rectangular building with pitched, glazed roof, "clerestory" and "aisles". Outer walls formed by stucco piers with segmental arches between and topped by urns. Triple central entrance with stucco piers surmounted by statues and urns. Central pediment with semi-circular fanlight. Central body is flanked by octagonal iron and glass pavilions to both ends and beyond these smaller rectangular conservatories with similar roof to central body. Entered at either end. Whole composition 628 ft long. Interiors aisled with iron columns. Central body galleried.

Wikipedia has an entry for the Temperate House that advises:

The Temperate House, opened in 1862, is a Grade I-listed showhouse for Kew's largest plants. Rectangular, with pitched roofs, its pillars support wrought-iron ribs. Decimus Burton, the designer, gave the House a mix of decorative motifs, finials, pediments, acanthus leaf capitals, Coade stone urns and statues. According to Greg Redwood, Kew's head of glasshouses, "The effect is similar to the contemporary iron pier pavilions of Eugenius Birch."

It was positioned to be the first feature visitors saw as they entered the gates with the anticipated coming of the first railway station at Kew expected to be at the end of the adjacent avenue. However, Kew Gardens station (London), was built 500 yards to the north - leaving the glasshouse "somewhat stranded in the landscape".

In 2011 Kew had to launch a £15m public appeal to address needed repairs to the Temperate House. An early exercise in cast- and wrought-iron and glass construction, the building is structurally sound but the Victorians hid utilitarian features liked drainpipes inside the stone columns. Water round the edge of the building leads to rust on the iron to push against the masonry which is falling away. Decorative features made of wood are rotting. It last underwent a major restoration in the late 1970s.

Type of Greenhouse: Botanical display - public

Type of Cover: Glass panel

What is the shape of this greenhouse: Other

If you selected Other shape please describe it: Please refer to the detailed description.

Unique features: The largest surviving Victorian glasshouse in the world.

If you selected Other - describe it.: Not listed

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