Conservatories Etc - Bringing in the sunshine

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Winter Gardens: A Lost Treasure?

11/09/2015

The 19th Century was a boomtime for the Great British seaside holiday, the working class finally began to win some rights to fairer pay and the odd day off and the railways had opened up cheap access to some beautiful areas of the coast. The newly affluent seaside towns invested in attractions to compete with their rivals: piers, bandstands and funfairs sprang up and a popular addition to the esplanade was a Winter Garden. 

As the cost associated with the production of glass fell between the 17th and 19th Centuries, so increased the preponderance of Winter Gardens. The term was originally applied to conservatories attached to country houses -- the glass enabling summer plants to be kept in bloom year-round and thus bring a little cheer during the colder months -- but is now most associated with the gothic glass constructions that were built at the seaside to offer an out-of-season alternative to the beach. 


Towns that boasted a Winter Gardens:

  • Blackpool 
  • Bournemouth 
  • Cleethorpes 
  • Margate 
  • Torquay 
  • Great Yarmouth 

Sadly, with the increase in availability of cheap package holidays abroad from the middle of the 20th Century, the fortunes of the seaside towns began to decline. Many of these historic Winter Gardens have now been knocked down or are in a state of disrepair. Bournemouth Winter Gardens (which in its heyday, used to host an orchestra) kept the name for half a century after all the glass had been replaced with brickwork, but in 2008 was demolished to make room for a car park. The Winter Garden at Great Yarmouth has so far avoided that fate and plans for regeneration are in progress at the moment, with the Prince’s Regeneration Trust looking to invest in a sustainable future for this historic building.


Perhaps you would like to recreate some of the splendour of the golden age of the Winter Garden in your own home. If you are interested in having a conservatory or orangery added to your property, please drop into one of our showrooms in Wymondham or Diss, alternatively call us on 01953 600505

Great Yarmouth winter gardens