The Temperate House
Once the largest plant house in the world and now the world’s largest surviving Victorian glass structure, the Temperate House is another of Decimus Burton’s designs. At 4,880 square metres, it is the largest public glasshouse at Kew, twice the size of the Palm House.
Tender woody plants from the world’s temperate regions have always been a major part of the collection at Kew. In Victorian times, the intensity of collecting meant that the Orangery and many other houses quickly became vastly overcrowded and the need for a large temperate greenhouse had become overwhelming.
In 1859, the Government allocated £10,000 to build the Temperate House and directed Decimus Burton to prepare designs for this ‘long-desiderated’ conservatory. However, in 1863, the Treasury called a halt to building for budgetary reasons. However, the building was finally completed in 1898.
Today, the planting has reverted to Decimus Burton’s original geographical scheme and includes many unusual crop plants from warmer climates.