King William’s Temple and Mediterranean garden
History and design
King William’s Temple stands on a mound on Cherry Walk, in between the Palm House and Temperate House. It was built in 1837 for Queen Victoria in the memory of William IV and designed by his architect, Sir Jeffry Wyatville. Initially called the Temple of Military Fame, it was designed to complement Sir William Chambers’ Temple of Victory (no longer standing).
Inside, cast-iron plates commemorate British victories from 1760 to 1815. It originally contained a parade of busts of characters including George III, George IV, William IV and the Duke of Wellington but these were later removed to Buckingham Palace.
It stands in the centre of the Mediterranean Garden, which Kew created in 2007. This 2000m² area to the west of the Temple is planted to depict a typical Mediterranean natural habitat. Kew’s aim in creating the feature was to highlight the economic uses of Mediterranean plants, the diversity of life the habitat supports and the conservation efforts needed to ensure its survival.
Stone pines (Pinus pinea), Tuscan olive trees (Olea europaea) and the green spires of Italian cypress (Cupress sempervivens) grow above shrubs such as Cistus and lavender (Lavandula lanata).