Historic greenhouse restoration project near Wellington underway

Sunnycroft, nestled on the outskirts of Wellington in Telford, is home to a rare suburban villa and miniature estate.

Built in 1880, most of Sunnycroft’s original features and much of its original content remain and this is a rare example of this type.

In his garden there is a very special veranda. Dating from 1899, it is one of only two known examples of the genre still standing, built by R Halliday & Co.

No ordinary greenhouse, the veranda – a garden room – is completely unspoiled with impressive original and decorative features and is grade II listed in its own right.

Over the past few years, the Sunnycroft team has raised funds to conserve and restore the building and the project is now underway, with expectations that it will be completed by September.

The R Halliday & Co greenhouse in Sunnycroft.

Lou Hall, Sunnycroft Site Manager, said: “We are delighted that the project is underway and we are extremely grateful to everyone who supported us in raising funds to make it happen. Thank you to everyone who donated to the project – from the purchase of pin badges on a visit, to supporters who left a legacy in their wills, and to discussion donations to groups in our local community to About the Halliday. “

The project includes skilled work necessary to preserve and restore the stained glass windows, to remove, clean and repaint the internal mechanisms and decorative cast iron supports, and to commission a heritage carpenter to replace or repair the delicate woodwork in order to restore the integrity of the building. structure.

Sunnycroft’s ambitious owner at the time of the conservatory’s construction was Mary J Slaney.

Established at the turn of the Victorian-Edwardian periods, the Halliday Conservatory is said to have been a cutting-edge horticultural and architectural masterpiece, a statement of great pride for Ms Slaney who cultivated award-winning exotic ferns.

It is highly likely that the ferns would have been produced in the high standing Halliday conservatory.

She was listed as a member of the Shropshire Horticultural Society in 1906 and the programs of the Royal Agricultural Society (Shrewsbury) Show and the Shrewsbury Flower Show of 1914 are in the archives of Sunnycroft.

Mrs. Slaney’s gardener, Mr. Stevenson, regularly presented and won first and second prizes of exotic ferns in August of each year at the Shropshire Horticultural Association Show, as reported in the Gardener’s Chronicle in 1894, 1897, 1900, 1901 and 1906.

Conservation work will take place in situ at Sunnycroft, as well as off-site at specialist craft workshops and is expected to be completed in early September.

The Sunnycroft Garden is open to pre-booked visitors on Sundays and Mondays through Sunday, June 6.

Admission is free for National Trust members and non-members pay an admission fee at the time of booking.

Sunnycroft will be closed to visitors from Monday, June 7, while the team plans and prepares the house and garden for summer openings from Saturday, July 3 through the end of August.

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John McTaggart

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