Appeal to save 120 year old glasshouses at West Dean


It’s over 120 years since the glasshouses were erected at West Dean Gardens, near Chichester, West Sussex. The gardens are Grade II listed on the English Heritage Register of Historic Parks and Gardens, and the 13 Victorian glasshouses, designed by Foster & Pearson between 1895 and 1901, are some of the finest examples in the UK.

The magnificent glasshouses are the jewel in the crown of the walled Kitchen Garden and they remain in constant use to this day, not only to nurture new plants but also new horticulturists learning their craft.


West Dean have now launched an appeal to renovate the nectarine and late vinery house which is in desperate need of repair. This will take £40,000 to complete a full restoration to bring the glasshouse back to life and preserve it for the next 25 years and beyond.

Robin Lane Fox, Emeritus Fellow of New College, Oxford and Reader in Ancient History, University of Oxford, points out that the West Dean glasshouses are exceptionally important: “They must be preserved at all costs because of their history, their central role in the story of such a great garden and their continuing value for one of Britain’s most exemplary centres of practical horticulture,” he says.

This year marks 25 years since head gardeners, husband and wife, Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain, began the transformation of West Dean into award-winning gardens, in the wake of the great storm of 1987. Since 1991 they have revitalized the 19th century landscape and overseen changes which have brought the gardens international respect.


Your donation could help to purchase nearly 2,000 metres of treated timber or 120 panes of glass, 70 litres of paint and primer or 100k of putty.

All donations are welcome and you would be helping to renovate and preserve a very special part of our horticultural heritage.

For more information and to donate to the Save the Glasshouses appeal online visit
West Dean Gardens are open to the public from 1 February – 23 December. Highlights include; a 300-foot Edwardian Pergola designed by Harold Peto; an award-winning Sunken Garden; a fruit collection of 100 varieties of apples including many heritage varieties; a Spring, Wild and Woodland garden; parkland and St. Roche’s Arboretum, with its fine collection of trees, offering breathtaking views of the South Downs, gardens and West Dean College on a two-mile circular walk.


Photo credits: ©All pictures West Dean Gardens.