Victorian Greenhouse: A Look At Its Past & Future

Victorian Greenhouse: A Look At Its Past & Future

Victorian greenhouses emerged during Queen Victoria’s reign in England from the mid 19th century to the early 20th century. Many historians considered that the golden era of greenhouses did indeed exist during the Victorian era.

In fact, it was during the Victorian era where we witness some of the largest greenhouses ever built. Nowadays, people refer to Victorian Greenhouses as a particular greenhouse architectural style that appears to be extremely elaborate and intricate in design.

If you're looking to invest in manufacturing a greenhouse on your estate, you should consider modeling your greenhouse after a Victorian Greenhouse. This particular style is slowly starting to rise in popularity, and you'll be ahead of the game if you decide to build one now.

Victorian greenhouse.

However, before you decide to throw your money towards building a Victorian Greenhouse, you should thoroughly comprehend how the Victorian Greenhouse came to be.

We can guarantee that you’ll be fully equipped with the relevant information regarding Victorian Greenhouses so you’ll be an expert during its construction.

Victorian Greenhouses: History

During the Victorian era, the largest greenhouses ever convinced by humans came into existence. Only the wealthy upper class were able to build such marvels because of a few factors that largely remain to be economical.

In England during the mid 19th century, there existed a window tax as well as a glass tax. The window tax was imposed based on dwellings while the glass tax was determined based on the weight of glass used. 

Due to such immense taxes put into place, even the smallest greenhouse was a remarkable achievement. The enforced taxes also means that no average English individual could partake in creating any of the greenhouses popular amongst the upper class during this time frame in history.

Victorian Greenhouse Designer: Joseph Paxton

A popular designer of Victorian greenhouses that the upper class in England relied on goes by the name of Joseph Paxton. He strictly designed and built greenhouses for the social elite.

The wealthy families who were able to commission a greenhouse from Paxton used the result as a statement towards their wealth. Other people who would compete with the social elite for the attention of Paxton were aspiring botanists, who depended on greenhouses to further their scientific research.

Joseph Paxton The Great Stove.

Paxton gratefully accepted commissions from both wealthy families and botanists so that everyone could remain content.

An excellent example of Paxton’s fine work comes in the form of Kew Gardens. Paxton was well-known to experiment will various materials. When he experimented with both iron and glass, he ended up creating one of the most elaborate greenhouses to have ever existed in the time period.

Before you know it, the rising middle class during the Victorian era were soon demanding the same architectural achievements that the wealthy upper class was building. This increase in demand forced manufacturers to produce practical yet plain glasshouses that could be assembled by one individual.

Victorian Greenhouses: Development

Due to sweeping social changes that the industrial revolution brought forth, England had to accommodate for a new economic class of individuals that were demanding the same luxuries as the upper class.

Also, the increased demand for Victorian greenhouses came to be as a response to the popular fashion at the time that consisted of cultivating rare and exotic plants in your very own home.

It was during this time frame that people also started to extend the growing season for their produce. This means that British families grew a surplus of food to overcompensate for the produce that was normally consumed at home.

As we stated earlier, the upper class in England were the only ones who could afford such elaborate greenhouses because they could afford to pay the heavy taxes put in place.

However, around the 1840’s, the glass tax that prohibited the middle class from participating in building these greenhouses was repealed. Again, the window tax that prevented so many families from building greenhouses was also repealed around the early 1850’s.

Victorian Greenhouses: Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution made it easier for middle-class families to purchase the necessary materials to make their own greenhouses in the Victorian fashion.

Due to the innovations made in regards to machine tool industry combined with the increased production of cast iron as well as improved shipping methods, anyone with decent means in England could create a Victorian Greenhouse.

Victorian Greenhouse Industrial Revolution.

You have to keep in mind that none of the later greenhouses could compare to the marvels designed and built by Joseph Paxton.

How They Work?

Victorian greenhouses were seen to be an improvement on the greenhouses built on the French and Italian royal courts since they were much more effective when it comes to the maintenance of plants.

Victorian Greenhouse Interior

The manufacturers of Victorian greenhouses made sure to produce sturdy structures that permit the optimal amount of sunlight infiltration, heating, as well as ventilation.

The large transparent glass windows allowed the inside temperature of a Victorian greenhouse to be perfect for adequate plant growth. No other greenhouse could accommodate such an array of varying plants.

The ventilation system of the Victorian greenhouse consists of sliding frames that you’ll find at the top of its roof. The roofs of this greenhouse were built out of glass in an angled manner to catch the rays of the sun.

They ensured that this new greenhouse structure would permit the minimum amount of shadowing, which is good for growing exotic plants in the long run. You should also expect the minimal amount of maintenance was required to take care of a Victorian Greenhouse.

Shape Of Victorian Greenhouse

The Victorian Greenhouse appears to look like your average home that consists of a rectangular base and body combined with a gable roof.

Nowadays, there are more eclectic versions of a Victorian greenhouse, but the one that most families tend to adhere to design wise is what’s depicted above.

What Vegetables Were Grown In Them?

When the elite were the only ones who had Victorian greenhouses, they mainly used theirs to grow exotic plants to show off to their acquaintances. Everything changed when the middle class got ahold of these greenhouses.

All sorts of fruits and vegetables were grown in Victorian greenhouses. People would invite their guests over to sit around their greenhouse to have tea and pick out fresh fruit and vegetables that were ready to eat right then and there.

Growing peppers in a greenhouse.

Having a Victorian greenhouse made consuming various types of foods a possibility. As explorers during this time period would bring back new vegetables and fruits, the English would respond with growing these discoveries right next to their very own homes.

For those attempting to make their own in-home garden, you can do so if you build your own Victorian greenhouse.


Hopefully, the question “what is Victorian greenhouse?” has been thoroughly answered to the point that you can undertake your own Victorian greenhouse construction.

Imagine all the various fruits and vegetables you can grow right next to your home when you decide to go through with building a Victorian greenhouse. You will not regret it.

For those who still have additional questions or comments, you should feel free to leave them

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