The Glass Pavilions (Grade II* listed)
The Pavilions have always been named after Joseph Paxton. Amongst his many achievements he was a leading creator of glasshouses with some iconic glass structures to his credit in Chatsworth – The Conservative Wall and The Great Stove and in London – The Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition of 1851. These Pavilions were an original feature of Sheffield Botanical Gardens when it opened in 1836. The recorded designer was local architect Benjamin Broomhead Taylor, who worked closely with Robert Marnock (the first Curator), Joseph Paxton (gardener to the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth) and John Claudius Loudon (a leading landscape gardener of the day) on the project. As today, the 3 domes were linked by a ridge-and-furrow glasshouse.
During the 1850s, additional ridge-and-furrow glasshouses were added at each end of the range; the western end housed a 30-foot diameter pool for the Victoria regia lily (now known as V amazonica). Because of dereliction the ridge-and-furrow houses had to be demolished soon after 1898 leaving only the 3 domes.
A colonnade was constructed between the Central and Eastern Dome in 1937. The Central Dome was converted into an aviary in 1961 and an aquarium was built inside the Eastern Dome in 1963. Funding cuts led to a decline in the level of maintenance and the resulting dereliction caused the Pavilions to be boarded up in the mid-1990s.
The Glass Pavilions, Grade II* listed, have now been lovingly restored to their original beauty. The linking ridge-and-furrow walkways have been re-built using stainless steel framing. Because of their diverse moisture requirements, the plant collections are watered by hand using rainwater collected from the roofs and stored in huge underground tanks in front of the Pavilions.
The Pavilions are available for wedding ceremonies.