Georgian and Regency Conservatories

History, design and conservation

By Melissa Thompson, Michael Borozdin-Bidnell

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Conservatories emerged in the early 19th century as a result of an increased interest in horticulture as well as developments in glass and iron manufacture, and in methods of heating. These technical innovations led to a new type of glasshouse with greater levels of light and more efficiently regulated heat, rendering them more equipped to house permanent displays of plants and flowers. Conservatories thus became a more agreeable place in which to spend time and so they began to be attached to the house in order to be used as a social space.

Drawing on contemporary architects’ plans, horticultural publications, diaries and memoirs, this book shows how and why conservatories emerged in the form they did, and explores what they were like inside and how they were used by their owners.

The second part of the book focuses on how various elements of conservatories may be conserved. This section examines the ways in which the materials and components of these often forgotten, but nonetheless architecturally and culturally significant structures, have deteriorated, as well as the various methods and approaches used in their conservation. Divided into five sections, specific case studies highlight practical approaches to the conservation and repair of metalwork, glazing, woodwork and surface coatings, as well as the importance of recording and storage. This study will offer practical guidance for practitioners, architects, owners, and those involved in the heritage industry.


  • Part 1- The emergence of the conservatory
    The origins of the conservatory
    The emergence of the conservatory
    The integration of the conservatory within the house
    The appropriate location for conservatories
    Design - Advice and manufacturers
    Environmental conditions
    The benefits of ‘indoor gardening’
  • Part 2- Subsequent developments to conservatories and glasshouses and conservation approaches
    Iron and metalwork - Glass
    Woodwork - Surface coatings
    New conservatories


Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.

Additional Information

  • Series: Architectural History
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 143
  • Illustrations: 117, colour and black & white
  • ISBN: 9781848022829


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