The first glass hour, interchangeably called conservatories, orangeries and greenhouses, were built in Britain from the 1660s to home orange and citrus trees.
The history of conservatories
One evening in December 1843, Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and the Duke of Wellington were invited to Chatsworth House for a party, where they were taken in an open carriage down the central isle of Chatsworth’s Great Conservatory, which was lit by 12,000 lamps for the occasion.
Duke of Wellington went on to write about the conservatory in his diary, professing his love of the building and it being the best he’d seen throughout European.
The opinion has been shared for generations, and is perhaps why us Brits have a passion for conservatories!
Conservatories prover incredibly popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, suffering a steep decline however during the years of the two world wars. Conservatories soon revived their popularity in the seventies and eighties, providing a great space to relax and entertain in.
An asset to the home
When Britain is in the midst of summer, our thoughts naturally turn from wood-burning stoves and plush sofas to light and sun. A conservatory is the best way to make the most of the sunshine – and can become a real asset when it comes to selling your house.
According to a recent study by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, bespoke conservatories can increase the value of a home by 5 per cent, with some estate agents putting it as high as 10 per cent.
Bespoke conservatory features
The modern conservatory is certainly different from its routes in 1660s; they are now considered to be ‘glass boxes’ or ‘frameless’, using plate glass and upright supports and beams to give the illusion of being completely outdoors.
Another trend for conservatories are hidden mod-cons, such as electronic vents, underfloor heating and solar controlled glazing. The controlled glazing helps to prevent UV light getting through it in the summer, keeping the room cool in the summer but holding in the warmth during the winter.
A conservatory has multiple uses, such as a garden room, kitchen extension or sitting room, and unusual uses such as a butterfly and orchid house.