As the Gardens grew and changed, so did the number of gates. They
were used for different purposes - for private, staff, trade and
This, the Main Gate off Kew Green, was designed by Decimus Burton
in 1845 and completed in April the next year. It signified a change
of attitude on the part of Kew's management, because Sir William
Hooker, when he became Director, no longer required visitors to
be escorted by gardeners. At the end of his first year, some 9,000
people passed through this grand entrance with its coat of arms
and ornamental foliage.
The central double gates were made for carriages, and are flanked
by two single gates for pedestrians. The elaborate wrought iron
work is in Jacobean style and the incorporation of the letter 'V'
showed the Director's determination to maintain and emphasise Kew's
The fruits and flowers in relief on the Portland stone piers were
carved by John Henning the younger (1801-1857) who had worked with
Decimus Burton on a triple screen at Hyde Park Corner.
The Main Gate is one of four of Kew's gates that are Grade II listed.
The other three were all built during the second half of the 19th
century. The Lion Gate and Lodge, and the Victoria Gate are still
used as public entrances, but the Unicorn Gate in Kew Road is used
only by staff.
Kew's other public entrance is through Brentford Gate, reached
from the Thames riverside path, Kew Pier and from its own car park
accessed from Kew Green.
Back to: Entrance
On to: North Eastern Zone