More Restoration Planned for Fulham Palace Greenhouses

Part of the next phase of works at the historic site

Fulham Palace had its three current greenhouses reinstated via the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NHLF) in 2010/11.

December 19, 2023

Fulham Palace is hoping to take the next steps in the ongoing restoration of its iconic house and garden – including building a new greenhouse on the footprint of a building demolished in the early 1900s. The medieval site used as a residence by the Bishops of London from 704 until 1973 and now attracts around 320,000 visitors a year, is also looking to refurbish one of its existing greenhouses, as it looks to improve its offerings to the public.

Located a few minute’s walk from Fulham FC’s stadium, Craven Cottage, the grounds are home to a series of protected structures, most of which are Grade-II listed. These include, as well as the Palace itself, the Chapel, a Gothic Lodge, the Stables, and the walls surrounding the garden.

Documents published detailing the application note that a range of greenhouses and ‘associated backhouses’ were constructed in the north-west corner of the garden in 1821. Three were reinstated via the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NHLF) in 2010/11, as part of the second of three restoration phases carried out at the Palace. The documents however also state there are ‘indications’ two further greenhouses were likely constructed in the 19th century, both of which appear to have been demolished by 1916.

The proposed refurbishment works include adding external blinds to one of the greenhouses, which will keep it cooler during the summer, and providing level access through a new door, “to promote a community use of this area for workshops and events accessible to all”.

The proposed new greenhouse is planned to go in the space to the right of the current structures. Picture: Matthew Bruce

The revamped greenhouse, the documents continue, “will take on multiple roles as an all year round space for garden related workshops for schools and community groups in addition to creating income opportunities to support the Fulham Palace Trust for evening garden events. It will supplement the Palace’s at-capacity education centre. It will run a range of new nature and gardening focussed workshops for schools and groups – from looking after chickens (we have four onsite), to pond dipping and how to garden on your balcony.”

In terms of the new greenhouse, the plan is that it will focus on the propagation of the Palace’s plants, including fruit and vegetables, which will be sold on the Trust’s market barrow.

Due to the various Grade-I and Grade-II listed buildings on-site, plus its wider designation as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, additional consideration of the potential impact on the Palace is required. The application however notes that there is no suggested demolition of any listed structure, with most of the works considered minimal.

The Fulham Palace Trust, which has managed the site since 2011, was approached for comment, but had not responded at the time of publication.

Ben Lynch - Local Democracy Reporter