The boundaries to the gardens
While the changes within the Gardens were taking place, Sir William
Hooker also paid attention to its boundaries. Since its demolition
in 1827, the site of the Castellated Palace had been marked by piles
of rubble and was entirely hidden behind hoardings.
By 1847, Hooker had cleared, levelled and grassed the area, planted
shrubs and brought the river back into view. He divided this newly
created space into two areas, seperated by a new ha-ha. The southeast
portion became a series of nursery beds on the site of the present
Lower Nursery Complex. The riverside portion became Queen Elizabeth's
Lawn, a public area openly accessible from the Thames towpath. It
was so named after an elm under which Queen Elizabeth I reputedly
held liaisons with Earl Dudley.
A surviving plan shows how the riverside area extending from the
Dutch House Lodge to below Brentford Gate was conceived as a single
design. In this plan, alterations to the sunk fence below Queen
Elizabeth's Lawn which were designed to enhance the entrance through
the Brentford Gate are paired with proposed new railings between
the Dutch House Lodge and the new Queen Elizabeth Gate.
The Royal entrance to the Dutch House consisted of the Lodge and
a pair of gates designed by Burton and built by Richard Turner.
A plan for these Queen Elizabeth Gates, stamped with the initials
VR to honour Queen Victoria, survives in the Public Records Office
at Richmond. These Gates were removed at some point and placed in
storage, from where they were rescued in 1985 and hung in their
present location at the entrance to the Lower Nursery Complex, beside
Queen Elizabeth's Lawn was the impressive new setting for both
the main entrance to the Royal Palace at the Dutch House and the
public entrance to the Gardens through Brentford Gate.
Burton's Main Gate on Kew Green signified a change of attitude
on the part of Kew's management, because Hooker no longer required
visitors to be escorted by gardeners.
The Brentford gateway was created some time after 1794 and before
Aiton's "View" of 1837. No plans for the Brentford Gate
itself have yet been located, and whilst the gateway predates the
creation of the Royal Botanic Gardens, it appears that it first
came into use for the public in 1847. This may indicate that the
gate was redesigned prior to 1847, and Burton's involvement in the
design of this general area could indicate that he may have had
a hand in the design of the Brentford Gate.
Back to: 1841-1885:
The flowering of Kew