The history of glasshouses

Traditional greenhouse

Glasshouses have long been a key feature in British gardens, nestled in the heart of growing spaces, providing a home for growing and horticultural all year round. Whilst they have been a cornerstone of the garden for some time, they have not always been accessible by everyone. Linda Lane, managing director of Griffin Glasshouses, uncovers the history of glasshouses, and their journey to becoming such an important garden feature.

“Traditional English glasshouses first became popular in the 16th and 17th centuries, when travellers, sailors and explorers would return home laden with a menagerie of exotic plants and needed a home to keep them in. Glasshouses were created to create a warm climate to replicate the temperatures and natural surroundings that these plants were used to.

However, the high price of glass, and subsequent taxes, meant that glasshouses were a luxury only afforded by the incredibly wealthy and royalty, where they could house their rare, exotic plant collections sourced from all over the world.

That changed somewhat following the industrial revolution. New manufacturing processes meant costs dropped significantly and new materials, such as iron which was used to strengthen the structures, became more readily available. Production, materials, tools and labour all became more affordable, coupled with the abolition of glass and window taxes in 1845 and 1851 respectively, making glasshouses more available to the middle classes and causing a dramatic spike in the popularity of glasshouses.

Since then, the style of glasshouses has largely remained the same. However, certain innovations resulting from evolving technology have been adopted. For example, systems for heating and ventilation can now be selected. Further to that, whilst maintaining traditional features, modern taste and customer demand for embracing current trends and style have been embraced by glasshouse designers.”

Since its formation 50 years ago, Griffin Glasshouses has been sat at the forefront of embracing trends and harmonising this with traditional glasshouse design.  The company has pioneered several ground-breaking concepts in glasshouse design and now offers bespoke services and advanced technology to ensure maximum light enters the glasshouse and that the perfect conditions are created for the plants that call the glasshouse home.


Posted by Linda in Design, News