Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Adelaide beats Glasgow in glasshouse restoration

Glasgow (and even Scotland) has a dismal record regarding the preservation and maintenance of the few historic glasshouses (or winter gardens) in its care.

Examples such as Springburn Winter Gardens have long lain in ruins, and although I can’t get there now, was sad to learn that the glasshouse in Ayr’s Bellisle Park had been closed in 2005, and I saw the sad sight of it boarded up, but thanks to local efforts had been restored and reopened in 2016.

Surely the worst case (since it was rescued but then dumped only a few years later) now has to be Tollcross Winter Gardens (not forgetting its once new Visitor Centre).

In summary, the Winter Garden glasshouse in Tollcross Park was last rescued and refurbished in the period 1999/2000, having then lain derelict for at least a decade, and at risk of being lost at worst, or left to be vandalised or rot at best. However, £1.7 million was raised to save it then, when it also gained an adjacent Visitor Centre, café, and play area.

But, having suffered storm damage during the winter of 2010/2011, it was simply closed and left to rot, with lack of cash being given as the reason.

While Glasgow City Council squandered more than £300 million paying to host the farcical 2014 Commonwealth Games, and spent freely on ‘upgrades’ for the Commonwealth Pool in the sports centre only a few metres from the stricken glasshouse, not a penny could be found to restore what would have been a better tourist attraction – since it would always be there, unlike the ten days or so of sporting madness of the dopey games that were ‘Here today, gone tomorrow’.

Since the hull of the clipper ship ‘City of Adelaide’ (aka The Carrick) went there, I get automated news updates, which include articles relating to Adelaide.

This story about what would appear to be the only such glasshouse in the southern hemisphere was just highlighted, and puts Adelaide ahead of Glasgow in this particular race.

Being a sole survivor of war is a burden few ask for, but when you fall under the weather and weigh 22 tonnes, you can be sure to draw attention.

The Palm House in Adelaide’s Botanic Gardens is undergoing its second restoration in about 25 years, with a team of painters and builders treating it for salt damp and rust incursion.

Plants have been moved out and cracked glass panes are being replaced, as workers utilise a huge freestanding scaffolding structure that took a week to build inside and around the 1877 structure.

Originally built in Bremen, Germany in 1875, the Palm House was shipped to Adelaide and reassembled, although the glass panes were all broken by the time it arrived.

Following the devastation of subsequent wars in Europe, it remains the only known German-built glasshouse from the era and is Australia’s second oldest.

Andrew Carrick from the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium said there were similar examples of iron and glass botanical houses around the world, such as the Crystal Palace and the Kew Gardens palm house in London.

“They are the same style with the cast iron, and obviously at a much grander scale, but ours is probably the only one in the Southern Hemisphere,” he said.

It is also possibly the only surviving example of a prefabricated glasshouse, and was originally used for tropical plants until rust incursion in the early 1990s led the gardens to change its use to dry plants from the southern and western tips of Madagascar.

Palm House at Adelaide’s Botanic Gardens stands alone as example of German glasshouse design

Compare and contrast…

The Adelaide glasshouse scaffolding supporting… restoration.

Photo: The palm house was built in Adelaide during 1877 after prefabrication in Germany. (ABC Radio Adelaide: Malcolm Sutton)

Photo: The palm house was built in Adelaide during 1877 after prefabrication in Germany. (ABC Radio Adelaide: Malcolm Sutton)

The Tollcross Winter Gardens scaffolding supporting… what’s left.

Tollcross Winter Gardens ruined

Tollcross Winter Gardens scaffolding

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31/08/2018 - Posted by | Appeal, council, photography | , , , , ,

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