The word conservatory is derived from the Italian “conservato” (stored or preserved) and Latin “ory” – a place for – and was originally used to describe a non–glazed structure used for storing food. Later the word was used to describe glazed structures for conserving, or protecting, plants from cold weather.
Preservation of citrus and other tender plants started out as crudely as building a pergola over potted plants or beds or simply moving potted plants indoors for the cold season. Known in Italy as limonaia, these early structures employed wood panels in storerooms or open galleries to protect from the cold.
Further north in Europe, the preservation of orange trees became the trend with special purpose buildings built to protect the tasty, but delicate fruit. Orangeries, as they came to be called were typically enclosed structures built with wood, brick or stone with tall vertical windows on the south walls. Use of these rooms expanded socially and practically, being used to entertain and to host a wider variety of plants. The term greenhouse came to describe the rooms and conservatories for tender plants. In the 18th century a Dutch scientist pioneered the use of sloping glass to bring in more light for the plants than the tall glass side walls of orangeries.
The 19th century was the golden age of conservatory building, primarily in England. English conservatories were the product of English love of gardening and new technology in glass and heating technology. Many of the magnificent public conservatories, built of iron and glass, are the result of this era. Kew Gardens in London is an example of a large greenhouse used for growing tender and rare plants, or, less often, for birds and rare animals – sometimes with the plants and animals living together.
The widespread construction of UK conservatories came to a halt with the onset of World War II. While the advent of insulated glass in the 1950s and 1960s saw the development of simple sunroom structures, it was not until the 1970s that creative architects and builders began to recreate the Victorian styling of 19th century English conservatories in smaller domestic versions using insulated glass.
Today, a conservatory is a popular addition to many homes as they create a unique additional room that can have many uses, be it a kitchen, dining room or as extra living space. A bespoke Chelsea conservatory enhances exteriors, increases living space and adds prestige to the home whilst looking like it was always part of the original building. Orangeries are a fast growing part of the market and many think they provide the perfect compromise between conservatories and traditional extensions. We build the more traditional stone or brick built orangeries as well as the modern styles. As a joinery manufacturer we are able to work closely with either the client or their architect to produce exactly the look and feel required. Our designs are constantly evolving in response to our customers needs, and whether you select one of our orangeries or one of our conservatories.
Our bespoke conservatory design service allows us to create both traditional and contemporary wooden conservatories, resulting in a unique addition to your home. A conservatory in wood gives a timeless feeling of quality which you will always appreciate.
Chelsea Conservatories and Orangeries provide detailed consultation and assistance with local authority planning applications and extensive help with the design of your garden room extension. This helps to ensure that the solution is right for you. We use high quality hardwood timber framing in our bespoke conservatories and orangeries and the very latest production technology. Whether you are improving a modern house or extending a period property, you can expect the same consistent quality from Chelsea Conservatories.