Conservatories Etc - Bringing in the sunshine

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How Conservatory Designs Have Evolved through History


Like all architectural features, conservatories have evolved throughout their history. This week, we thought we’d take a quick survey through that evolution and see how historical antecedents have bequeathed us the modern conservatory. 

The Grand Tour

A historical conservatory design

During the Eighteenth Century, it was the fashion amongst rich young aristocrats to take a Grand Tour of Europe. On these proto-gap years, they were often enchanted by the varieties of plants that they encountered in the Mediterranean. Samples that the nobles brought back failed to flourish in our cold damp climate. The first glasshouses were built on estates to provide artificial climates for grape vines and citrus trees. They were called ‘conservatories’ because they conserved – in the sense of preserved – plants that would otherwise die.  

The Victorians

An internail view of a Victorian style conservatory

The middle classes of the late Victorian era - many of whom would have been impressed by the Crystal Palace at the Great Exhibition – started a fashion for conservatories attached to ordinary family homes. These tended to be multi-sided constructions that mimicked the designs of the grander conservatories of the aristocracy, but on a smaller scale. They were still used predominately for plants.

The Edwardians

An Edwardian styled conservatory

The Edwardians squared off the design of the conservatory – apparently to make it easier to get furniture in there. It was during the Edwardian era that conservatories became more of a room for socialising with guests and less of a plant nursery. Save yourself £1000 with our special offer on Edwardian style conservatories.

Modern Innovations

A gable grey conservatory installed by Conservatories Etc

The most important change in the history of conservatories comes with the radical improvements in glass technology. All of our conservatories and orangeries come with double glazing as standard. Our solar control glass prevents the build-up of heat in summer and can be tinted. Our low maintenance glass is self-cleaning – it utilises natural light and rain to wash the exterior of your windows.

To see examples of modern conservatories, come to our showrooms in Wymondham or Diss where a member of our sales team will talk you through all the fantastic features.

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