Garden And Gardener

Everything for the Gardener and their Garden


by Diane - April 11th, 2019.
Filed under: Places to visit.


Chelsea Physic Garden is delighted to announce it has received initial support and development funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for the Chelsea Physic Garden Glasshouses Restoration project. *1 

Made possible by National Lottery players, the project aims to repair and preserve the iconic glass structures within the Garden for at least the next fifty years. Development funding of £172,500 has been awarded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to help Chelsea Physic Garden progress its plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant of £680,000 at a later date.

 The funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund will contribute towards this extensive restoration project. Today whilst the glasshouses are home to a range of rare and sub-tropical species, the structures are fragile and in need of significant repair and conservation to restore them to their former glory thus saving them for future generations to enjoy.

 When restored, the glasshouses will provide a much better growing environment for the important and diverse collection of plants. The work will include improvements to the paths and glasshouses to make them more accessible for visitors with disabilities. This will enable the Garden’s team to hold activities and workshops for a wide variety of people so they can discover and experience the history and contemporary relevance of the glasshouses plants.  A programme of open days and events for local communities and schools will highlight plants from the many cultural backgrounds represented in London and in the Garden’s collections.

The first known heated glasshouse in the UK was erected at Chelsea Physic Garden in 1683. This ‘stove house’ as it was known) is thought to have been the first of its kind in Europe.  It was heated using pioneering technology of the period which enabled the gardeners to control the heating and venting to nurture new tender species such as melon and pineapple that had never before been propagated in the UK.

The present glasshouses date back to the late Victorian period and are the most complete range of teak and iron houses in the country. Erected in 1902, these buildings house some of the world’s rarest sub-tropical species together with ferns, succulents and carnivorous plants. Many of these 1200 plants are historically important and some endangered in their natural habitat. Despite being damaged in the 1941 Blitz, these modest but elegant cast iron structures have survived to become an iconic feature within the peaceful surroundings of the historic botanic garden.

To make a donation towards the restoration of Chelsea Physic Garden Glasshouses visit  


“As guardians of such a rare and special plant collection, it’s vitally important for us to ensure these plants and the structures are conserved.  When a pane of glass falls from the glasshouse, leaving the plants vulnerable to the elements I know we must act with speed to start the renovation project” Nell Jones, Head of Plant Collections Chelsea Physic Garden.

 “I am absolutely delighted that we have received the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund and that National Lottery players are supporting us with this initial support.  It enables us to carry out the vital investigative and preparatory work to undertake conservation repairs on our historic Glasshouses.  We will be reaching out into our local communities as we want to know what the plants we grow today mean to people from all of our neighbours, be it in home remedies or in food.  We will also be using this conservation project as an opportunity to ensure that our staff and volunteers have an opportunity to learn new skills. This grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund is a great first step and we will be launching the campaign for the funds we need to achieve the full restoration programme”.  Sue Medway, Director of Chelsea Physic Garden