Although sometimes called the ‘Victorian’ Greenhouse, we have recently been informed that the structure is unlikely to have been constructed prior to 1920. Despite its deteriorating condition, and unlike many of its contemporaries in country estates across the UK, the greenhouse continues to stand and be in use a century later.
In recent years the greenhouse has housed the Plant Families display, a living educational tool used to introduce visitors to plant identification and taxonomy.
Glasshouses, which were a status symbol of wealth and privilege in the Victorian age, were created to maximise light and create the perfect temperature for plants previously only grown abroad. As well as a rainwater-harvesting system, the Braziers glasshouse has lever- and winch-operated vents in the roof and sides and a cast-iron boiler and pressurised heating system fueled by coal or coke to maintain optimal growing conditions.
Although the boiler and heating pipes remain, the greenhouse has long gone unheated. After the purchase of the estate by BPSISR in 1950, the greenhouse would mainly have been used for food-production, giving some protection to, and extending the growing season of, more ordinary food plants. Uncle to Marianne, Bernie Faithful was a long-serving user of the greenhouse, having even slept in the potting shed end for years until persuaded to move to a room in the Main House.
Now and then over the years the greenhouse has had a variety of non-horticultural uses, such as for photo-shoots and as an exhibition space.
The greenhouse now houses the Plant Families display and is featured in garden talks both on organic food production and plant identification and taxonomy.