Researchers once believed that the Citrus House was first built way, way back in 1831 but recent archive research has revealed it was in fact first assembled in 1801. Constructed on the site of the original Orange Wall that was used for standing the citrus trees outside during the summer months, making this the perfect place to enforce the growth of new and beautiful natural life.
When Lord Nelson with Sir William and Lady Hamilton visited the gardens in 1803 the small class house was refered to as the tiny conservatery which contained a wide selection of exotic plants within it. It is recorded that Lord Nelson himself rewarded the gardener who guided them through the site with the sum of three shillings, which in todays money comes to a grand total of 36p, although that was a great deal back then for any low income earner such as a gardener.
The building was eventually refurbished in 1831 after many years of neglect and a Propagating House was added along the north-facing wall. The original Victorian ironwork, stanchions, and ventilation control mechanisms are still in place and operating, which can be seen if you visit today, which we think only adds to the inner beauty of such a historic building, making it even more perfect for its natural life hub. Some of the original glazing from the 1840’s can be seen in the roof and any replacements which have been issued over the past century and a half have maintained the ‘Beaver Tail’ design which allows any rainfall to directly fall down the pain and run to the bottom to fall off the edge, this was of course intentional so the ‘conservatory’ would not hold a lot of water on the roof which could cause unnecessary leaks.
When the property was finally surrendered to public ownership in the 1940’s much of it was neglected and quickly became seriously dilapidated due to the fact that the entire lot needed a lot of voulenteers to help maintain its beauty and such as these generally die of interest in the end which mean the entire building was then overlooked by the rest of the civiulans. In 1977 as part of the Royal Jubilee celebrations the Orangery and the Citrus House were restored to their former glory and a collection of citrus were established in the glasshouse. Unfortunately lack of skilled staff caused the collection to suffer and many fine plants were lost, unfrotunate as this is, this is one of the main reasons why we are always on the hunt for new specious of plant, the excitment of fiding some new or even old that has escaped our collection over the years really drives our little community to do what we do.
Finally in 1998 the offer was made to Fuchsia Research International to occupy and utilise the Citrus House to create an Andean habitat suitable for the species of the genus Fuchsia. This is where our story begins, with this beautiful place at our disposal, we have a huge lot of land to preserve our beautiful plants that we and our community are so truly passionate about.