We're 'Rooting for Restoration' at The Weir as the glasshouse is in need of repair

The crumbling paintwork on the wooden frames

The Foster & Pearson glasshouse inside The Weir’s walled garden really is a thing of beauty. At around seventy foot long the impressive structure houses a myriad of interesting plants including a ‘Black Hamburg’ grape vine, Wall trained fig trees and a vigorous Red Angel's Trumpet. While it has endured for many years it is now beginning to show signs of wear. Read on and discover how we plan to revive this special feature, keeping it safe for future generations to enjoy.

Built here in the 1920s and manufactured in Beeston, Nottinghamshire, the Foster & Pearson glasshouse was a state of the art design, with underfloor heating fed from a boiler and beaver tailed glass panes, carefully crafted to allow water to flow down the centre. Roger Parr, the last owner of The Weir Estate, was the driving force behind the glasshouse and spared no expense whilst commissioning the new build. Parr loved The Weir Garden greatly and cared for the grounds with a small team of gardeners; he was also responsible for the boathouse, retaining wall, rockery and topiary within the riverside garden.

The face of the boathouse from the Wye
The face of the boathouse from the Wye
The face of the boathouse from the Wye

Sadly, after Parr’s death in 1958, the walled garden declined in use and was left derelict from 1959 to 2008, until the staff and volunteers at The Weir took on the mammoth task of reviving the lost garden.

The Weir Garden glasshouse and walled garden, pre-restoration.
The Weir Garden glasshouse pre restoration
The Weir Garden glasshouse and walled garden, pre-restoration.

The magnificent glasshouse was once again made usable and even today continues to be a sanctuary for volunteers and visitors whilst providing fresh fruit and vegetables for everyone to enjoy. Inside, original metal pillars support shelves at different levels and grape vines work their way up from the outside soil. It once again supports a variety of plants from figs, chillies, tomatoes and even carnivorous tropical plants; a fascinating sight for all age groups.

A Red Angel's Trumpet adds splashes of colour in the glasshouse
The colourful Red Angel's Trumpet plant in the glasshouse
A Red Angel's Trumpet adds splashes of colour in the glasshouse

It has been eleven years since the glasshouse was last refurbished and now time is beginning to take its toll on the centennial structure. The original wooden staging is beginning to rot and ageing timbers are beginning to sag. Deteriorating masonry is in need of replacing and a great deal of re-puttying and repainting is needed throughout and the floor has been notably worn and will soon need replacing.

The floor is no longer fit for purpose
The worn and uneven floor in the glasshouse
The floor is no longer fit for purpose

In time, many wooden glasshouses have been demolished and replaced with metal frames, rather than repairing the wood, which is both time consuming and expensive. A wooden glasshouse of this scale and beauty is a rarity in this day and age which is why this year at The Weir Garden we will be fundraising to preserve the glasshouse.

At the heart of the walled garden is the Foster&Pearson glasshouse
The impressive glasshouse in summer photographed from across the  garden
At the heart of the walled garden is the Foster&Pearson glasshouse

By buying a cup of coffee, a raffle ticket, a second-hand book or vegetables harvested from the garden you will be helping us in our conservation mission. This fundraising will help us restore the glasshouse and help preserve it for future generations. Discover more about this project and the glasshouse itself during your next visit to The Weir Garden.