HISTORY OF ORANGERIES IN THE UK

Nowadays when we talk about orangeries we often mean a hardwood structure
attached to a home which can be used as additional living space such as a kitchen,
lounge, play area, gym, studio or office. They are built with hardwood from
sustainable forests and feature the latest glass technology and many have air
conditioning, tiled floors with under floor heating and hidden lighting effects. Back
in the 17th Century wealthy landowners, following the trend in Northern Europe,
began to build orangeries to protect their tender orange and lemon trees. Banana
plants, oleander, hibiscus and pomegranates were also grown in orangeries.

These orangeries were primitive, containing only a small amount of glass and were heated by a stove or fire in the room which often produced fumes which could kill plants. They had south facing glass windows to let in the maximum amount of sunlight, the northern wallswould be thick, to protect against cold. Orangeries were grand structures with elaborate external stone and brickwork and ornamental plastered interiors. Only the wealthiest families could afford the huge cost of building an orangery and of maintaining their collections of delicate plants through cold winters.

The orangery at Margam Park, near Port Talbot in South Wales was built between 1786 to 1790 it was long and narrow with a series of twentyseven tall windows. The plain back wall contained fireplaces, from which hot air passed through flues. In its centre was a high door through which fully-grown trees could be wheeled into the garden. It fell into disrepair but has now been restored, part still remains as an orangery and is used for exhibitions. One end still houses a small collection of orange trees.

It was not until the 19th century that orangeries were able to develop into really efficient plant houses.

  • 1816 - piped hot water was introduced into Britain – stoves located outside the orangery

  • 1845 - glass tax was abolished

  • 1848 - sheet glass invented, production of large plates of glass now possible

  • 1851 - window tax abolished

As a result of these developments the cost of glass dropped.Some orangeries had sophisticated floor-heating systems to keep the roots warm and opening top windows for ventilation.

The orangery at Chatsworth House was designed by Joseph Paxton, designer of The Crystal Palace. His "great conservatory" was an orangery and glass house of huge proportions. Started in 1837, at the time, it was the largest glass building in the world. There was a central carriageway and when the Queen was driven through, it was lit with twelve thousand lamps. However, it was hugely expensive to maintain, and was not heated during the First World War. The plants died and it was demolished in the 1920s.

A recent orangery was built in 1970 at Mapperton, Beaminster, Dorset, by Victor Montagu.

Whatever type of home you have, talk to us about how we can help you with your orangery plans - please contact Opus to discuss your hardwood orangery design.

Nowadays when we talk about orangeries we often mean a
hardwood structure attached to a home which can be used as
additional living space such as a kitchen, lounge, play area, gym,
studioor office. They are built with hardwood from sustainable
forests and feature the latest glass technology and many have air
conditioning, tiled floors with under floor heating and hidden
lighting effects. Back in the 17th Century wealthy landowners,
following the trend in Northern Europe, began to build orangeries
to protect their tender orange and lemon trees. Banana plants,
oleander, hibiscus and pomegranates were also grown in orangeries.

These orangeries were primitive, containing only a small amount of glass and were heated by a stove or fire in the room which often produced fumes which could kill plants. They had south facing glass windows to let in the maximum amount of sunlight, the northern wallswould be thick, to protect against cold. Orangeries were grand structures with elaborate external stone and brickwork and ornamental plastered interiors. Only the wealthiest families could afford the huge cost of building an orangery and of maintaining their collections of delicate plants through cold winters.

The orangery at Margam Park, near Port Talbot in South Wales was built between 1786 to 1790 it was long and narrow with a series of twentyseven tall windows. The plain back wall contained fireplaces, from which hot air passed through flues. In its centre was a high door through which fully-grown trees could be wheeled into the garden. It fell into disrepair but has now been restored, part still remains as an orangery and is used for exhibitions. One end still houses a small collection of orange trees.

It was not until the 19th century that orangeries were able to develop into really efficient plant houses.

  • 1816 - piped hot water was introduced into Britain – stoves located outside the orangery

  • 1845 - glass tax was abolished

  • 1848 - sheet glass invented, production of large plates of glass now possible

  • 1851 - window tax abolished

As a result of these developments the cost of glass dropped.Some orangeries had sophisticated floor-heating systems to keep the roots warm and opening top windows for ventilation.

The orangery at Chatsworth House was designed by Joseph Paxton, designer of The Crystal Palace. His "great conservatory" was an orangery and glass house of huge proportions. Started in 1837, at the time, it was the largest glass building in the world. There was a central carriageway and when the Queen was driven through, it was lit with twelve thousand lamps. However, it was hugely expensive to maintain, and was not heated during the First World War. The plants died and it was demolished in the 1920s.

A recent orangery was built in 1970 at Mapperton, Beaminster, Dorset, by Victor Montagu.

Whatever type of home you have, talk to us about how we can help you with your orangery plans - please contact Opus to discuss your hardwood orangery design.