Birmingham Botanical Gardens receives £590,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Birmingham Botanical Gardens has been awarded £590,814 from the The National Lottery Heritage Fund – with the potential to secure a further £4.4 million – to restore its four historic, listed glasshouses.
The Gardens, a Grade II* listed charity based in Edgbaston, has received the development grant so it can develop plans for its £13 million ‘Growing our Green Heritage’ project, which aims to restore its historic glasshouse estate, as well as additional visitor and community resources, to create a place of horticultural excellence and outstanding green space.
As the project progresses, the Gardens will have the chance to secure an additional funding amount of £4,409,186 to deliver the project. Funding for the project has been made possible thanks to National Lottery players.
Sue Beardsmore, Chair of Trustees at Birmingham Botanical Gardens said: “Our uniquely biodiverse natural environment is one of the UK’s most significant historic Botanic Gardens and part of Birmingham’s richly diverse cultural history and way of life. This safe, peaceful space is part of the green heart of Birmingham and a hugely treasured place to the city and its communities.
“The historic glasshouse estate is at risk. It needs urgent extensive repairs to continue to provide the right environment for our important living plant collection.
“Support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund will mean that we can preserve this historic estate and iconic glasshouses for future generations. A place of sanctuary, learning and inspiration, bringing people and plants together for another 200 years.
“We know that a meaningful relationship with nature has significant benefits for health and well-being and we are immensely grateful to the Fund for this unique opportunity to restore an important part of Birmingham’s heritage, champion biodiversity and the environment, and reconnect people with nature.”
The total project is expected to take about five years to complete.
Elizabeth Frostick, Development Director at the Gardens, said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded the National Lottery Heritage Fund development funding. We are one of only two remaining independent Botanic Gardens in the country and receive no public subsidy. As a charity, we rely on income from visitors, members, grants, and the generous donations from trusts and individuals who share our vision to preserve these unique Gardens for everyone now and for future generations.”
The glasshouses have always been a major attraction: the Tropical House was built in 1852 to house the famous tropical water lily, Victoria amazonica; the Subtropical House in 1871 and the present range of Terrace Glasshouses replaced the original conservatory and lean-to houses in 1884. The Tropical House was rebuilt during 1990/91 and the other houses improved and replanted during the major redevelopments carried out in 1986/87.
Set within a Conservation Area, it is a 15-acre oasis just one mile from the city centre and has more than 7,000 formally documented plants, with the largest and most diverse botanic collection in central England.
This important funding into the West Midlands comes after a successful year for the region, which included Coventry City of Culture, itself a recipient of £3 million funding from the Heritage Fund, and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, of which the Birmingham 2022 Festival also received £3 million in Heritage Fund support.