Thursday, October 13, 2016

Lost Gardens and the Extreme Chimneys of Hampton Court Palace

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Amusing Planet  Kaushik Sunday, October 09, 2011 

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, near Mevagissey in Cornwall, is one of the most popular botanical gardens in the UK. The gardens were created by members of the Cornish Tremayne family, over a period from the mid-18th century up to the beginning of the 20th century – the garden evolving and becoming more extravagant with each passing generation. Throughout the 19th century, the gardens thrived, growing larger and requiring greater staff to manage them.

Before the outbreak of World War I, the Tremayne estate employed 22 gardeners. Many of those loyal gardeners went to fight, and after the war their numbers had diminished so that the gardens fell into severe disrepair. As the rest of the estate was rented out, the gardens became an afterthought and were not rediscovered until the 1990s.

Their rediscovery by a distant relative of the Tremayne estate, led to a widely publicized attempt to bring the gardens back to life. The restoration of the Heligan Gardens was undertaken by Tim Smit, the same architect who conceived The Eden Project, the largest Greenhouse complex in the world. 

The gardens now boast a fabulous collection of aged and colossal rhododendrons and camellias, a series of lakes fed by a ram pump over a hundred years old, highly productive flower and vegetable gardens, an Italian garden, and a stunning wild area filled with primaeval-looking sub-tropical tree ferns called "The Jungle". The gardens also have Europe's only remaining pineapple pit, warmed by rotting manure, and two figures made from rocks and plants known as the Mud Maid and the Giant's Head.


The Decorative Chimneys of Hampton Court Palace

Amusing Planet  Kaushik Wednesday, October 12, 2016 

Back in the middle ages, a heated home was a luxury that the majority did not have. Most people huddled around an open hearth in the center of the room for warmth, over which they also cooked their meals, while smoke filled their houses and their lungs. Chimneys were a new thing then, and belonged only to the most princely of dwellings. So it was natural for those who had them to use chimneys as a demonstration of wealth and power. 

Early chimneys appeared only on large manor houses, and during the Tudor period it became fashionable to have ornate brick chimneys and stacks. There is perhaps no better example of this than Hampton Court Palace situated on the outskirts of London. 

Photo credit: Jen/Flickr

Hampton Court is one of the most significant and best preserved royal palaces in Britain. It was built between 1515 and 1525, originally as the residence for Thomas Wolsey, who was born a commoner but rose to the position of Cardinal of the Church and later appointed Lord Chancellor of England, thanks to his valued friendship with King Henry VIII. Wolsey spent lavishly to build the finest palace at Hampton Court, choosing red bricks rather than stone because it was the most fashionable building material of that time. Besides, bricks could be easily molded and shaped as raw clay, and they was easier to carve than stone. They also came in different colors, depending on the earth from which they were made. By the time the palace was complete, its magnificence rivaled that of the King. 

Unfortunately for Wolsey, he could enjoy his palace only for a few years. In 1529, a dispute with Henry VIII caused him to fall out of favor, and the King seized the palace for himself. 

Immediately upon ownership, King Henry VIII began expanding the palace, quadrupling its size within six months to accommodate over one thousand members of his court. Huge rooms were built equipped with gigantic fireplaces and soaring ceilings to carry away the smoke. The famous brick chimneys were an integral part of the original design for Thomas Wolsey’s palace, and Henry VIII added further chimneys to the palace’s impressive roofline. Today, Hampton Court is adorned with 241 decorative brick chimneys, the largest collection in England. Each chimney sports an elaborately carved design. It is rumored that no two chimneys are alike.

Photo credit: Jen/Flickr

Photo credit: Cristian Bortes/Wikimedia

Photo credit: damian entwistle/Flickr

Photo credit: Maureen Barlin/Flickr

Photo credit: Karli Watson/Flickr

Photo credit: Karli Watson/Flickr

Photo credit: Karli Watson/Flickr

Photo credit: traveljunction/Flickr

Photo credit: stevekeiretsu/Flickr
Sources: Historic Royal Palaces / Telegraph / Wikipedia /

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