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The Walled Garden

Conservation Restoration of Glass Houses into Business Park Offices


Country houses and estates often feature kitchen gardens. Here the kitchen garden predates the original Isaac Ware designed house. It is possibly the oldest existing structure on the estate. The north wall of the garden was rebuilt during the Victorian period and a plaque over the north east gate is dated 1856. It was built to a height of 5m and features a south facing lean-to glass house with boilers and piped heating. At the time this building technology, developed by Joseph Paxton, was the height of fashion following advances in the manufacture of glass and the abolition of taxes on glass. The height and extent to this conservatory and its age make it significant. Below the glasshouses photographed by the RAF in 1922, next to a photo of the level of disrepair and overgrowth today.


The glass houses are in an advanced state of decay. With the super structures to the east all but gone. To the centre and west the primary structures are evident but collapsing. The structures were primarily timber with some cast iron brackets and central columns to offer some rigidity. However, even when first constructed, by today’s standard these structures would be perceived as fragile. These are now beyond repair but some internal features in the floor construction may be preserved. This image provides an analysis of the historic structure. The below two images set out a proposed strategy for its reinstatement.


The proposal is to reinstate the form of the historic glass houses, using contemporary technology and materials to create comfortable offices to compliment those already within the estate’s portfolio. Using a conservation architecture approach we have proposed to slate over the east and west wing lean-to roofs, with opening rooflights to provide natural ventilation. The central atrium is fully reglazed and acts as the central focal point; a grand new entrance and communal space which could include catering facilities to serve the offices.

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