Kew Garden’s iconic Temperate House has been closed for five years as vital renovation work is carried out. However, there has been an opening date announced for the relaunch of the renovated Victorian Glasshouse.
The south west London attraction is expected to reopen to the public on the 5th May 2018. The popular building is thought to be the largest Victorian glasshouse in the world and will open next year complete with a wide variety of rare and exotic plants. The work to restore the glasshouse has been long and painstaking. The restoration plans were designed by Donald Insall Associates and it is thought that the work will have cost in the region of £41 million. This restoration project is the largest undertaken in the history of Kew Gardens and has involved the framework of the building, its intricate ironwork and ground paving carefully repaired. As part of the renovation works it is thought that thousands of panes of glass have been replaced.
Originally, Temperate House was designed by Decimus Burton and was built in 1863. The newly restored glasshouse will be used for horticultural education and also as a location to display rare and, in some cases, near extinct plants. It is thought that there are around 500 plants were originally housed in Temperate House, which had to be removed and propagated by Kew gardeners during the restoration of the building. When complete it is thought that as many as 10,000 plants originating from all over the world will be rehoused in this newly renovated building. Among these plants will be the Dombeya mauritiana, a plant that was considered practically extinct until a Kew horticulturalist found one growing wild in Mauritius.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded around £15 million to the project, with another £10 million sourced from the UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. £8 million of the funds needed to carry out this extensive restoration work has come from private donations.