It's a 'Pane in the Glass' – Restoring the glasshouse at Croft Castle

Green tomatoes growing in the greenhouse

Here at Croft we are embarking on a new project to restore the glasshouse. It has served us so well for over 100 years, and now it's our turn to serve it.

Thanks to our supporters and those that purchased raffle tickets in 2019, we are able to restore this historic greenhouse. 

The glasshouse at Croft dates back to 1908 and was built by J.W. Weekes and Company.

It’s a beautifully constructed building of around 90 feet in length, with original cedar frames and large panes of beaver-tailed glass. The glasshouse is a much loved and admired building.

It was state of the art in 1908, with the beaver-tailed glass specially cut to allow rainwater to run down the centre of the pane, condensation channels in the glazing bars on the roof and an ingenious system of levers and winding mechanisms to open roof and side vents to cool the whole building on really hot days.

It’s a hive of activity in the growing season with tomatoes and fresh vegetables being grown for the tea-room. It has provided many visitors with shelter from the rain and also with a space to soak up the atmosphere and reflect. The garden and indeed the whole property wouldn’t be the same without it.

The glasshouse is a grower's haven
Large pink flower in the glass house
The glasshouse is a grower's haven

Why are you carrying out the work? 

Structurally, many sections are suffering from moisture ingress and softening of timbers especially on major joints. Movement of the joints has caused many roof sections to move out of true, causing glass slippage and panes to crack.

This has been the heart of the gardens for over 100 years
The glasshouse with the sun shining through
This has been the heart of the gardens for over 100 years

We’re now at the stage where just repairing and painting the glasshouse at huge costs is not going to preserve it. What is needed now is a complete rebuild. The glasshouse has served us well for over 110 years so it’s only right that we preserve it for generations to come.

What restoration work is happening? 

The greenhouse will be de-glazed, and the glass will be safely stored. As much of the original timber will be kept as possible. We will rebuild the glasshouse structure, and then it will be re-puttied, re-glazed and painted. 

When is the work taking place?

Scaffolding will be constructed from the 21 March, and building work will begin from 28 March 2022. It will take approximately 12 weeks for the restoration to be completed. 

We can not wait to see this greenhouse restored back to its former glory!