Press Release: Save the Glasshouses! 120-year old Victorian glasshouses at West Dean Gardens

It is over 120 years since the glasshouses were erected at West Dean Gardens which are listed Grade II on the English Heritage Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. Designed by Foster & Pearson between 1895 and 1901 the 13 Victorian houses are some of the finest examples in the UK. The jewel in the crown of the walled Kitchen Garden, the magnificent glasshouses remain in constant use to this day not only to nurture new plants but also new horticulturists learning their craft. The nectarine and late vinery house is in desperate need of renovation. It will take £40,000 to complete a full restoration to bring the glasshouse back to life and preserve it for the next 25 years and beyond.

"The West Dean glasshouses are exceptionally important. They must be preserved at all costs because of their history, their central role in the story of such a great garden and their continuing value for one of Britain's most exemplary centres of practical horticulture." Robin Lane Fox, Emeritus Fellow of New College, Oxford and Reader in Ancient History, University of Oxford.

This year marks 25 years since head gardeners, husband and wife, Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain, began the transformation of West Dean into award-winning gardens, in the wake of the Great Storms of 1987. In the years since 1991, they have revitalised the 19th century landscape and overseen tremendous changes which have brought the gardens international respect for both the quality and variety of horticultural practice.

A new photographic display will illustrate the highlights of 25 Years of Glorious Gardening in the renovated 'mushroom shed' at West Dean Gardens (1 April to 30 September). Free entry with a ticket to the gardens (adult standard entry £8.50, children go FREE).

Save the Glasshouses

This is what your donation will help to purchase:

  • Nearly 2,000 metres of treated timber
  • 120 panes of glass
  • 70 litres of paint and primer
  • 100kg of putty

For more information and to donate to the Save the Glasshouses appeal online visit

West Dean Gardens are open to the public from 1 February - 23 December. Highlights include; a 300-foot Edwardian Pergola designed by Harold Peto; an award-winning Sunken Garden; a fruit collection of 100 varieties of apples including many heritage varieties; a Spring, Wild and Woodland garden; parkland and St. Roche's Arboretum, with its fine collection of trees, offering breathtaking views of the South Downs, gardens and West Dean College on a two-mile circular walk.

Meet the gardeners - Summer Dining Series in the Gardens Restaurant

An evening with Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain, Head Gardeners, West Dean Gardens (22 April 2016).
Free parking. Free admission to Shop and Restaurant. Dogs on short leads welcome.

Notes to editors

  • West Dean Gardens is part of The Edward James Foundation, a charitable trust, also comprising West Dean College, West Dean Estate and the West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.
  • The Victorian nectarine glasshouse facilitates the growth of nectarines and vines as the sun can reach the plants along the back wall throughout the day due to the integral curved trellis, which also allows two sets of plants to be grown in the shared space.
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • West Dean College and Gardens are situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London.

Media Contact Information

For further information, high-resolution digital images of filming opportunities, please contact

Irene Caswell, Senior Media Relations Officer, +44 (0)1243 818301


West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ