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Glass Houses

Glasshouses were built at Tatton from around the mid 1700s.  They were used for growing pineapples along with many other fruit including figs, apricots, grapes, peaches and nectarines.

The Pinery VineryPineapples growing in Pinery web file

The Pinery Vinery was reinstated in 2007. This restored glasshouse is possibly the only genuine, rebuilt example of a Pinery Vinery in existence in Britain. It was originally designed by Samuel Wyatt in 1774, during the heyday of the pineapple as a status symbol, when individual fruits were sold for the equivalent of £5,000 today.

This special building is 120 feet long and divided into three sections, in order to nurture differently aged plants correctly, as pineapples only fruit every third year. The structure of the Pinery Vinery, as with the original 250-year-old design, includes small arches built into the brickwork at floor level, which are part of the underfloor heating system.

Glasshouses not only produced fruit for the table but also pot plants and cut flowers for the main house.  The addition of orchid and general pot plant growing glasshouses made this possible.

The Joy of the Orchid House

Our Orchid House is currently blooming with colour. Despite Tatton Park’s Garden being closed to the public to minimise the spread of coronavirus, we’re trying to help people stay connected to nature as much as we can in other ways. Here’s a short article about our collection of orchids. 

Hundreds of varietiesOrchid House 3 - web file

Since the restoration of one of the glasshouses in 2004, Tatton Park’s collection of orchids includes 100s of varieties. This has built up over the years, thanks to donations from private collectors and the North of England Orchid Society. The opening in 2004 was also made possible thanks to NADFAS volunteers (National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies). 

The history behind Tatton Park’s orchids

William Tatton Egerton (1806-1883) inherited the estate in 1856. He was an avid orchid enthusiast and friends with James Bateman of Biddulph Grange, Staffordshire; the famous orchid scholar and collector. In its heyday and during William’s ownership, the Gardens at Tatton Park boasted as many as 20 orchid houses. Our archives include William’s handwritten notes detailing his observations of the plants and the different varieties of orchid in his extensive collection.

Orchids as status symbols

Orchids weren’t just grown in glasshouses at Tatton to feed William’s passion; they were also a symbol of wealth and status in the Victorian era. Overseas travel introduced privileged families to exotic plant varieties, and a desire to grow them in their own gardens in England. William would have impressed guests with tours of his many orchid houses and plants would also be taken into the Mansion for decoration. 

The family also enjoyed taking guests around the gardens and glasshouses - to this end the conservatory, fernery and show house were built.

The Fernery

The fernery today - George Littler

The Fernery was designed and built in the late 1850s by Joseph Paxton; better known for designing The Crystal Palace, Great Exhibition in 1851. This historic Fernery is one of the largest surviving glazed ferneries in the country. 

Ferns and Tree Ferns

The Fernery houses an extensive collection of ferns and tree ferns, some of which are the original plants collected in New Zealand and Australia by Captain Charles Randle Egerton in the 1850s. Today it remains s a beautiful green space and praceful retreat, especially if the weather is less than perfect! It's always dry, warm and welcoming, even in the winter months. Here's a short video of The Fernery sharing the beauty of this wonderful structure and plants

Other glass houses

The adjoining Show-House was created as an area to ‘show off’ the latest flowering plant material in season at the time. This houses continuously changing displays which can be enjoyed from spring to autumn. 

The Conservatory has also undergone restoration work to restore it to its original plan.