Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Glasshouses Restoration News, RBGE Building Renewal, Architecture Pictures

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Glasshouses Restoration News

11 April 2022

Heritage Fund awards £4 million to restore historic glasshouses at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Funding will support re-display of rare and endangered historic plants

£4 million to restore glasshouses at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The two A-Listed Victorian Palm Houses and a modernist range of 1960s glasshouses at the heart of the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh are to be restored thanks to a £4 million grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The grant will fund the re-display of their rare and endangered historic plant collections, create engaging new interpretation and deliver innovative new activities for visitors.

(Left to right) Emma Lacroix, Director of Development, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh with Frankie Toner, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, National Lottery Heritage Fund and Simon Milne, MBE, Regius Keeper, in the Lower Temperate House at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh as the National Lottery Heritage Fund announces an award of £4 million for their restoration
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Glasshouses Lower Temperate House
photo : David Cheskin

The two Palm Houses form the historic centre of the Garden and are outstanding examples of Victorian engineering. The octagonal Tropical Palm House, constructed in 1834, was soon considered too small, with palms sending their leaves through the roof. In 1855, a new Temperate Palm House was built to a grand design by Robert Matheson, with cast iron columns and vertical glazing that achieved exceptional height and transparency.

The Garden as a whole is a ‘safe-house’ for threatened species, conserving 154 of Scotland’s 181 rare plants and many others that are already extinct in the wild. The glasshouses contain some of the Garden’s most iconic and spectacular plants, including including the enigmatic Amorphophallus titanum from Sumatra, which spectacularly flowers at night and smells of rotting flesh. The project will ensure the safety of these globally significant living collections.

The grant will cover the creation of a new visitor experience and an enhanced programme of activities specifically designed to give a wider range of people reasons to care about their natural environment and inspire actions to address climate change, biodiversity, recovery and food security.

The project will form the historic centrepiece of the wider Edinburgh Biomes experience, which will include an area focussing on how plants have evolved and continue to adapt and a newly built contemporary glasshouse, that will provide a tropical rainforest environment, as the main entrance.

Previous RBGE projects funded by the Heritage Fund include the Botanic Cottage, an inspirational heritage hub for community and education activities and the impressive John Hope Gateway Centre designed by Edward Cullinan architect, which opened in 2009 with a Heritage Fund grant of £3.2M.

Eighteen-month-old Sophia-Grace Toner runs through the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh on the day that the National Lottery Heritage Fund announces an award of £4 million to restore the iconic glasshouses:
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
photo : David Cheskin

RBGE boasts a collection of 130,000 plants, some of which are two centuries old, and 13,500 species from 157 countries – the third most diverse collection in the world. Its herbarium contains over three million preserved specimens, including many of those collected by Charles Darwin and many famous Scottish plant hunters.

Caroline Clark, Director for Scotland, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:
“We are delighted to be supporting this important project, which will see the historic heart of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh restored and revitalised for the benefit of generations to come. Thanks to National Lottery players, this significant grant will rescue these iconic buildings from catastrophic failure and enable a step-change in activity, engaging wider and more diverse audiences both locally and internationally.”

Simon Milne, MBE, Regius Keeper, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh said:
“The significance of this award of £4m cannot be underestimated and we are hugely grateful to National Lottery players for making it possible. In committing this sum to the Edinburgh Biomes project, the Heritage Fund is providing unprecedented resources for public action in protecting our fragile world.

“In an era where 40 per cent of all known plants are under threat, we can inspire and empower people across the country and around the globe to join us in fighting back against the biodiversity crisis and climate emergency. This funding not only goes a considerable way to securing the care of a unique Living Collection of plants, but also supplies the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh with previously unattainable opportunities for public engagement.

“Now, we can reimagine our visitor experience. Visionary interpretation and activities will communicate the vulnerability of life on Earth, providing intellectual and physical access to plants, their applications in all our lives and the need for habitat conservation. By inspiring everyone to care about the environment and play their part, there is real opportunity to make tangible change.”

About the National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. www.HeritageFund.org.uk.
Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

About the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) is a leading international research organisation delivering knowledge, education, and plant conservation action around the world. In Scotland, its four Gardens at Edinburgh, Benmore, Dawyck and Logan attract more than a million visitors each year. It operates as a Non Departmental Public Body established under the National Heritage (Scotland) Act 1985, principally funded by the Scottish Government. It is also a registered charity, managed by a Board of Trustees appointed by Ministers. Its mission is “To explore, conserve and explain the world of plants for a better future.” Learn more: www.rbge.org.uk

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Glasshouses Restoration images / information received 110422

Previously on Edinburgh Architecture:

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

9 March 2022
RBGE Edinburgh Biomes building construction
RBGE Edinburgh Biomes building construction
RBGE Edinburgh Biomes construction

6 Sep 2019
Botanics’ Glasshouses close one by one for emergency repairs

2 Aug 2019
Go ahead for plans to safeguard the priceless collections of Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Edinburgh
Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh public and research Glasshouses, 1967 by the PSA:
Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden planthouses building facade
photo © Adrian Welch

Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden News

11 Nov 2010 – £35m proposals abandoned due to threatened funding cuts: scheme to replace the Britain’s largest glasshouse halted despite officials warning they have an “appalling carbon footprint”.

The current glasshouses cost a huge sum in repair and general maintenance and have massive running costs.

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh Photos

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh building by Edward Cullinan Architects

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