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Last Updated: Monday, 10 November, 2003, 11:49 GMT
Historic glass house closes
Temperate Palm House
The palm house will be closed until next summer
Britain's tallest glass palm house has been closed to the public in order for it to be returned to its original Victorian splendour.

The Temperate Palm House, in Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Gardens, will be shut for eight months for refurbishment work to be carried out.

At 23 metres high, the iconic Grade A Listed building, designed by Robert Matthieson in 1858, is taller than its counterpart at Kew Gardens in London.

When it reopens next summer it will become the main visitor entrance for the Glasshouses, 10 different houses covering exhibits from the temperate and tropical world.

David Mitchell, curator of the Glasshouses, said: "The Temperate Palm House is a beautiful building.

"The current interior is neither historically accurate or suitable for its contemporary use.

Stone beds

"The new plans will address this, and will ensure that the inside is just as awe-inspiring as the outside."

Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Gardens has 15,500 different species on show to the public and although some will be moved from the Temperate Palm House, none will be lost to the collection.

The refurbishment, which will see the building closed to the public until June 2004, involves improving the interior layout.

HISTORIC MAKEOVER
Britain's tallest glass palm house reaches new heights

A new stone floor will be laid throughout and in the middle two new large stone beds will be created, one of which will focus on the diversity of palms.

The second bed will incorporate temperate specimens and demonstrate mankind's dependence on plants.

The remaining landscape will feature a display that will explore plant evolution and adaptation reflecting current research work.

The first phase of the refurbishment will involve a careful process of removing existing plantings and in the New Year contractors will create a new entrance as well as laying the new stone floor.

And subject to funding, a second phase of restoration will include a new heating system housed at floor level beneath traditional cast iron grilles, new lightning and further landscaping.


SEE ALSO:
Record-smashing palm gets the chop
11 Jun 01  |  UK News


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