HISTORY OF THE ORANGERY

Orangeries - a heated room for plants - did not feature in British gardens until the 17th century.

Margam OrangeryOrange, lemon and lime trees were the first tender evergreens to grace British gardens. In winter they were housed in the orangery, which was the most ornate of the early plant houses.

Early orangeries only had a small amount of glass and were heated by a stove or fire in the room. It was not until the 19th century that several events combined to enable the building of really efficient orangeries.

In 1816 piped hot water was introduced into Britain – the stove and its fumes were now located outside the orangery.

In 1845 the glass tax was abolished, three years later sheet glass was invented and the production of large plates of glass was now possible. Three years after that window tax was also abolished. As a result of these events the cost of glass dropped. It was no coincidence that the Crystal Palace in London, designed by Joseph Paxton for the Great Exhibition, was built six years after the abolition of glass tax. After 1845 the wealthy could afford to build large orangeries against their south-facing garden walls.

Orangeries were built with south facing glass windows to let in the maximum amount of afternoon sunlight. The northern wall of an orangery was extremely thick, to protect against wind and cold. They were grand structures with elaborate external stone and brickwork and ornamental plastered interiors. Only the wealthiest families could afford the substantial cost of building an orangery and of maintaining their collections of delicate plants through cold winters.

Later, some orangeries had sophisticated floor-heating systems to keep the roots warm and opening top windows for ventilation. Orangeries were mostly one large room, but some had separate areas for propagation and cutting.High and wide double doors were fitted to enable the larger plants and trees to be wheeled in and out in their pots.

Now, in the 21st Century, Orangeries built with hardwood from sustainable forests, use the latest glass technology and can include interior design features such as hidden lighting, under floor heating, tiled floors and air conditioning.

Orangeries built with hardwood from sustainable forests, use the latest glass technology and can include interior design features such as hidden lighting, under floor heating, tiled floors and air conditioning.

Whatever type of home you have, we can design a bespoke hardwood orangery for you, please contact Opus Conservatories to discuss your hardwood orangery design.