Foster & Pearson, Beeston - Surviving Buildings at West Dean Gardens
A beautifully restored range of Foster & Pearson greenhouses and cold frames at West Dean Gardens, near Goodwood, West Sussex
These magnificent buildings were installed originally, in the 1890s, by William Dodge James who acquired West Dean house and estate in 1891 and
used his inherited wealth to alter and extend the house and to develop the gardens - to include a 300-foot-long pergola as well as the greenhouses.
The Prince of Wales and his Marlborough House set were amongst those who attended lavish house parties there and shoots on the West Dean Estate
The house and estate were inherited by Edward, his only son, in 1912 while only a child. In 1956 the house became Wispers School, an independent boarding
School for girls and, in 1964, James gave the house to the Edward James Foundation, a charitable, educational trust which supports and teaches
artists and craftsman. West Dean College was established in 1971.
There are 13 Foster & Pearson greenhouses and three cold frames, all of which were beautifully and fully restored in the early 1900s after becoming
derelict over the years. They are now repainted on a four-year cycle and hand scrubbed, top to bottom, inside and out, each year. Despite this they are
now beginning to show the need for refurbishment for which contributions are invited on the
West Dean website.
They are constantly in use for fruit growing - including figs, Muscat grapes and early strawberries - as well as temperate and tropical floral displays such as orchids, auriculas lilies, etc.
The fully restored interior of the greenhouses retain the original Foster & Pearson ironwork.
The Foster & Pearson nameplate still survives.
Photographs kindly supplied by Keith McGraw, who recently retired and moved from Wollaton to the south of England after
17 years as a Senior Lecturer in Engineering at Nottingham Trent University, which followed ten years as a Development Engineer with TI Raleigh and Sturmey
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