08 March 2016
A conservatory was traditionally used as a sunroom or greenhouse as it is today. Since the 16th century wealthy landowners have built impressive conservatories around the world. Some more recently built conservatories today house the most rare plant species in the world. Many of these are open to the public and are popular to visit. They may give you inspiration to build your own (small!) botanical conservatory or sun room.
The Eden Project Conservatory
One of the most famous conservatories is The Eden Project, Cornwall. The Guinness Book of Records officially classes it as the world’s biggest greenhouse, housing over 1million plants! The complex is dominated by two adjoining enormous artificial biomes collecting plants and species from all over the world. The domes consist of hexagonal and pentagonal, inflated, plastic cells supported by a steel frame. A very modern conservatory indeed and well worth a visit for the whole family.
Princess Agusta Conservatory
In Kew, London, inside the famous Royal Botanical Gardens. Stands The Princess of Wales or Princess Augusta conservatory, the founder of Kew. It contains ten computer controlled climatic tropical areas under one roof. The conservatory was famously opened in 1987 by Diana, Princess of Wales. With its stepped and angled glass construction, without sidewalls and with most of its space below ground, the conservatory is a most effective collector of solar energy.
Chatsworth House Conservatory
The great conservatory at Chatsworth House, which lies within the Derbyshire dales and is home to the Duke of Derbyshire, was built from 1836-1847 but was, sadly, demolished in 1920 due to the high running costs of the coal needed to heat it and the men needed to be employed in the running of it. The estate now has the First Dukes Green house which is a long, low building with ten arched windows and a high temple-like centrepiece.
The Sion House Conservatory
A great conservatory that is still standing can be found at the famous Sion House, London. Built in 1830 and designed by Charles Fowler it was the first conservatory to be built from metal and glass on a large scale. It has appeared in numerous films, such, as Bedazzled by Dudley Moore and Peter Cook in 1967, the original version of Catch Me If You Can in 1965, The Cure filmed their music video to ‘Caterpillar’ there and it was shown in a dream sequence in Bhaji on The Beach by Meera Syal.
Belle Isle Conservatory
The can be found on Belle Isle and in 1953 the structure was renamed The Anne Scripps Whitcombe conservatory after she left her collection of over 600 orchids to the place. The building of the conservatory is rather striking with its marvellously high domed centre reaching 85ft, which houses the exotic palm trees of South America and plant life from the jungles of Southeast Asia.
There are many beautiful botanical gardens around the world with impressive conservatories and all make for beautiful constructions. Choose the right conservatory for you and you too could have your own beautiful glass construction.