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Sunnycroft’s conservatory

Conservatory at Sunnycroft
Conservatory at Sunnycroft | © National Trust Images/Jayne Gough

In the garden at Sunnycroft stands a very special conservatory. Built by R Halliday & Co and dating back to 1899, it is believed to be one of only a few remaining Halliday conservatories and has a unique design only found at Sunnycroft.

The Halliday Conservatory

No ordinary glasshouse, the Halliday Conservatory – a garden room – is Grade II listed in its own right. Impressive original features including stained glass and decorative finials and ironwork remain intact. Built as a statement piece in 1899, it was continually in use until 2018 when its rate of decline made it vulnerable.

The glasshouse had been showing its age and was in need of restoration. Early stages of the project included research and investigative work on how to restore the conservatory.

Once a philosophy of approach was agreed, work on the conservatory commenced in 2021. The timber frame, cast iron supports and the leaded stained glass have been restored in keeping with the original design.

Exquisite craftsmanship

Standing immediately to the west of the house, visible and accessible from the French windows in the Drawing Room, this conservatory was a statement of design and horticultural excellence at the time of its construction.

Its finely chamfered rafters have a special quality of lightness, while a sophisticated system of slender tensioned cast iron rods take the strain of the structure.

Inside, you can still see the original cast iron display staging around the perimeter, with decorative rockwork beneath for ferns.

Inside the Halliday conservatory at Sunnycroft
Inside the Halliday conservatory at Sunnycroft | © NationalTrust/Jayne Gough

Exotic horticulture at Sunnycroft

The Halliday conservatory was a key part of the additions and improvements that were made at the end of the 19th century by Sunnycroft’s aspirational owner, Mary Jane Slaney.

The widow of a successful wine and spirit merchant in Wellington,
Mrs Slaney grew prize-winning exotic ferns, some of which would have been grown in the glasshouse.

She was listed as a member of the Shropshire Horticultural Society in 1906. The collection at Sunnycroft contains programmes for the Royal Agricultural Society’s (Shrewsbury) show and Shrewsbury Flower Show of 1914.

Sunnycroft veranda and porch

The glazed cast iron ‘porch’ over the turret’s front door was also provided by R. Halliday & Co., as was the iron and glazed-roof veranda across the whole of the south front overlooking the garden. They were installed for Mary Jane's daughters wedding in 1901.

View across the lawn to the rear of Sunnycroft, Shropshire
View across the lawn to the rear of Sunnycroft | © National Trust Images/Clive Boursnell

Conservation fundraising supporters

Thanks to generous donations from visitors, supporter groups, legacies and the local community the work was made possible.

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