The Nash Conservatory
Previously known as the Architectural Conservatory, this is the
oldest of the 19th Century glasshouses at Kew. It was originally
one of two pavilions designed by John Nash for the gardens at Buckingham
Palace, but William IV moved this one to Kew in 1836.
Of a classical stone 'Greek temple' design, the building was adapted
by Sir Jeffrey Wyatville, the designer of King William's Temple
. The twelve Ionic columns on the east and west façades are
reputed to have come from Carlton House. Wyatville also wanted Portland
stone columns on both the north and south façades, but costs
obliged him to substitute Bath stone pilasters and forgo any decorative
It has major historical significance, by association with Buckingham
Palace and William IV. With both Nash and Wyatville involved, it
is of considerable architectural significance, too.
This classical conservatory shows an elegant use of cast iron post
and trusses in its spacious interior. Six Ionic columns of Portland
stone to the east and the west façades support a glazed classical
pediment. The intermediate bays are also fully glazed.
The building was originally heated by a patent system, by A M Perkins,
of steam circulating through small bore coil pipes, but this was
replaced by a large bore hot water system 30 years later.
The use and function of the Nash Conservatory changed as the Botanical
Gardens evolved over the years. It first housed Araucaria
and Eucalyptus; then in 1854 it was used for Australian
flora. In 1861, it was renamed the Aroid House and used for South
East Asian Araceae. When the Palm House was being restored in the
early 1980s, it was used as temporary accommodation large palms.
After a period of disuse the Nash Consevatory has been fully restored
and is currently being used as a schools' centre.
Back to: Entrance
to: Main Gate