Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Cast-iron conservatory


The Horniman Museum, best-known for its walrus and aquarium, also has a rather wonderful Victorian conservatory. It was built in 1894 for the Museum's founder Frederick John Horniman, and originally located in his Croydon garden. He built it for two reasons: to house his own collection of rare plants, and to provide his elderly mother with a comfortable garden environment. After his death it gradually fell into disrepair, but moved to the museum grounds and underwent conservation in the 1980s. 


The conservatory is cast iron, the work of leading company Walter Macfarlane & Co. They sent the cast sections by train to Croydon, where local contractors Joseph Kemp & Son assembled them. The resulting building is light and romantic, full of pleasing details. It's no wonder that the conservatory has become a popular venue for weddings and events. 









8 comments:

Jane said...

wow... that's absolutely GORGEOUS! I had no idea it looked like that as the Horniman and the Dulwich Picture Gallery are still in a dark unknown area for me and both places are on the 'must see' list. ooh...

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jane it really is gorgeous.
Sandra

CarolineLD said...

It is lovely, especially as I have a soft spot for Victorian cast iron.

Jane, the Horniman's well worth a visit - there's a nice park attached too, with views across London. I've only visited the Dulwich Picture Gallery on its birthday weekend, when it was rather crowded, so it's still on my 'to do' list as well.

Hels said...

You often see conservatories that are light and romantic, and that actually do give protection to delicate plants that would otherwise not survive. But I don't think I have seen a conservatory moved lock, stock and barrel to a museum. Brilliant location, actually.

HughB said...

Pity the poor window cleaner!!

Graham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Graham said...

One colde January day, some years back, we had our wedding reception there. Wonderful...

CarolineLD said...

What a perfect place - it has a very wedding-y ambience!

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