Unification and expansion of the Gardens
There was further unification and expansion of the Royal Botanic
Gardens under Sir William Thiselton-Dyer. He supervised the removal
of the wire fence separating the Pleasure Grounds from the Botanic
Gardens and so physically united the Gardens as a single entity
for the first time since their official creation in 1841.
In 1898, he received the gift from Queen Victoria of the gardens
surrounding both the Dutch House and Queen Charlotte's Cottage.
Conditional to the gift was the stipulation that the area around
Queen Charlotte's Cottage should remain in its natural state, which
was, in reality, an overgrown Victorian formal park design from
1851. From this, the concept of the Nature Conservation Area was
Several royal retainers were still in residence in both the Dutch
House and Kew Cottages, so Thiselton-Dyer was thwarted in his goal
of bringing the Dutch House under the control of the Gardens.
What is more, the Cumberland family still occupied Cambridge Cottage,
giving their opinions on the arrangement of flowerbeds and trying
to annexe land from the Botanic Gardens. This house finally came
into Kew's use in 1904 with the death of the 2nd Duke. The Monarch,
by now King Edward VII, agreed that this royal property could be
used “as a museum of Forestry, as quarters for the staff of
the Gardens, and for other cognate purposes”. The forestry
museum, displaying British timbers, their utilisation, tree diseases
and forestry equipment, opened to the public in 1910.
Thiselton-Dyer finally expanded public access to the Gardens, culminating
in the building of the Refreshment Pavilion in 1888. The Pavilion
attracted unwanted attention in 1913 when suffragettes burnt it
to the ground. This action took place 12 days after the suffragettes
had destroyed orchids and smashed glass panes in three of the orchid
A temporary tea pavilion was erected in 1914, which was eventually
replaced in 1920 with the current Pavilion Restaurant, designed
by the Office of Works in a functional style.
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