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Chatsworth greenhouse 1

Chatsworth House is an impressive edifice whatever your views on the sort of society which enabled places like this to be built. And away – well away as they didn’t want them to be seen – from the artifice of the main buildings though, there are still interesting corners of normal life to be found. I particularly like the enormous kitchen garden, the centrepiece of which are the original greenhouses. There are four of these side by side, each one apparently 50 feet long. They were built in 1890 and have been in continuous use ever since. Repairs to some of the glazing frames apart, they are more or less as the Victorian contractors left them. Even a lot of the glazing itself seems original, each pane of glass having a curved lower edge to direct rain run-off away from the wood.  The frames are supported by cast iron columns topped by decorated panels which form the shape of the central walkway and also the intricate system of opening windows along the ridge used to help regulate the temperature. These are opened and closed by hand, using handles which operate screw threads up to the hinge mechanism. Even the heating pipes are all still there, although they are busy installing some kind of bio-mass burner to generate the heat (at least this is one site where they might actually be able to generate enough fuel).
I have never quite been able to capture the atmosphere of the buildings but each time I visit I look at them afresh and have a go. Here are two from earlier this year. I kind of like the idea that were you to show them to one of the original gardeners, he’d (and it was a male preserve) probably be able to recognise the place right away.

Chatsworth greenhouse 2

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One thought on “Greenhouses

  1. Pingback: Chatsworth | easy on the eye

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