Gotta LOVE Kew Gardens. I do. On my visit today (10 May) … I thought …
A lot of hard work has been going on at Kew recently – and David Attenborough opened a fully restored glass house. Fantastic.
But, honestly ? The newly restored Temperate House looks a bit disappointingly sterile, really … though of course it will mature. They replaced almost everything … including all the Victorian glass … which I think is a bit of a shame. The only things they kept are the various frames of ironwork, (originally erected at various different times) which are all resurfaced. So really almost all of the ‘feel’ and fabric of the history of the structure is lost. Still – the restoration only cost 40 million quid !!! Well, that’s progress for you. :O)
I really hope they don’t do the same to the Tropical House.
Maybe I’ll have to start a petition to ask them to save it in its original state ! It’s gorgeous. And irreplaceable. With its original Victorian glass panes and its harmoniously damp and mouldering insides, it’s a precious and unique national treasure. And, climbing that spiral staircase up to the steamy top level, you feel a wonderful flood of empathy – knowing that Sir Joseph Hooker climbed those very stairs, and nothing has changed since then !!!
The more I think about it, the more emotional I feel. Once those crumbling layers of a hundred and fifty years of Victorian and Edwardian and later paint and rust are removed, they can never be recreated. It seems these days we always think NEW is better than OLD ? Surely a new 21st century Tropical House could be built with double glazing and electronically controlled climate etc., but KEEPING the original one intact alongside ?!
I hope somebody at the fabulous KG reads this !!
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Bri posing in front of one of Britain’s most magnificent and precious Victorian Treasures … the Tropical House at Kew Gardens.
And a view of the glorious insides – in stereo !