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Plant Houses, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

A Category A Listed Building in Inverleith, Edinburgh

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Latitude: 55.9665 / 55°57'59"N

Longitude: -3.2079 / 3°12'28"W

OS Eastings: 324696

OS Northings: 675491

OS Grid: NT246754

Mapcode National: GBR 8K8.PN

Mapcode Global: WH6SL.P9MB

Plus Code: 9C7RXQ8R+JR

Entry Name: Plant Houses, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

Listing Name: Royal Botanic Garden, Inverleith Row, 1967 Greenhouse

Listing Date: 4 June 2003

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 396795

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49216

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: Inverleith

Traditional County: Midlothian

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G A H Pearce, architect to Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, Scotland, 1967 (see Notes). 420 ft long greenhouse on sloping site with unattached wing to NW connecting with 1854 Palm House; basement to E end of main greenhouse. Sloping sides and pitched roof; steel frame, aluminium alloy glazing bars and doors, and glass. Main structure suspended on steel cables from an external tetrahedral lattice framework of inter-linked 3 inch diameter steel tubes which project upwards from the eaves; main tubes interlaced by thin rods. Concrete base. Exposed basement to centre with large windows between fin-shaped concrete piers to N and S. Battered concrete-clad wall to E. Entrances to gable ends with aluminium glazed doors and flat rectangular canopies. Deck-access to E end and N; external concrete staircase to N from basement to main level with large rectangular canopy.

INTERIOR: main greenhouse divided into 5 sections by steel and glass partitions; central temperate section with exposed basement and concrete footbridge at main-floor level across N side.

Statement of Interest

A-Group with Head Gardener's Cottage, Inverleith House, 1858 Palm House and 1834 Palm Stove, Linnaeus Monument, Caledonian Horticultural Society Hall, and the Laboratory and Lecture Hall Buildings at 20a Inverleith Row. The Royal Botanic Garden is included in the Inventory Of Gardens And Designed Landscapes In Scotland, Site Number 216.

The innovative design of the greenhouse was largely due to the Curator of the garden, Dr E.E. Kemp, who insisted that the supporting structure was to be kept entirely on the outside of the greenhouse, thereby allowing the maximum amount of light in, and creating a totally unimpeded interior space. According to Fletcher and Brown, "The building of these houses was the most important event in the annals of glasshouse construction since the nineteenth century works of Joseph Paxton and the construction of the Kew Palm House". The exposed basement at the centre allows tall trees to be grown. The architect, G A H Pearce, was assisted by J Johnson. The structural engineers were L R Creasy and J W Walley, and the Mechanical and Electrical Engineers were A D McDougall and T Dowie. The greenhouse cost #263,000 to build, which, as the authorities were eager to point out, was only slightly more than it would have cost to have the old Edwardian greenhouses repaired.

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