Winter Gardens

The role of the winter garden is similar to that of the conservatory, although generally smaller and not attached to the residence. The form of the winter garden is dependent upon whether its use is for tropical plants, trees, exhibition purposes or interior floral decoration.


Thomas Eustace Smith

It appears that Thomas Messenger only gave one estimate for a winter garden and that was in 1873 for Thomas Eustace Smith, Liberal M.P. for Tynemouth[1], of Gosforth House[2], Northumberland. Whether it was really a conservatory rather than a winter garden is questionable as it is also referred to as a conservatory in the contract book, when detailing the requested customer alterations to raise the height by 4 inches. No known drawing exist of the structure and it is not obviously identifiable on the Series 1 Ordnance Survey map, so whether it was actually built is unclear.

The estimate for the second design was £354, for which Mr. Smith wished to pay, one-third upon delivery, one-third on completion and the final one-third 6 months after completion. The price included £56 11s. 6d which represented a 20 per cent mark-up on all the materials and £9 14s. 4d. to cover carriage and contingency. The structure itself comprised of three uprights, one 46ft. by 7ft. 9in. and two 30ft. by 7ft. 9in. One 9ft. by 2ft. gable, six sets of roofs, two 36ft. by 16ft. 6in, two 20ft. by 16ft. 6in. and two 5ft. by 3ft. Part of the structure had a lean-to roof and at least three doors, two single and one double. It was to been embellished with 23ft. of cresting, three finials and numerous iron scrolls and brackets. The whole was to have been heated using a No. 7 boiler, 202 yards of 4-inch, 66 yards of 2-inch pipes, 2 iron ventilators, 115ft. long by 14in. wide iron grating and 111 cement joints. The price for the heating system alone was £91, which included a 50 per cent mark-up on the pipes and 40 per cent on the boiler, ventilators and grating. It was estimated that it would take 14 man-days for a team of two (fitter and labourer) to install the heating system, both being charged out at 11s. per day.

Mr Smith requested a couple of further changes to the second design, namely an increase in the overall height by 4in., inserting an extra door and a couple of extra pipes in a corridor[3]. This was costed up at £10, including allowances for various deductions, whilst again the same mark-ups were applied to the pipes, grates, etc. This gave a total price of £455 for the structure



  1. From 1868 to 1885.

  2. The house and estate were sold in 1880 to High Gosforth Park Ltd. who established a racecourse on the estate. Shortly afterwards the house was converted for use a hotel and is now known as Brandling House (after the original owners of the estate and who built the Grade II listed house between 1755 and 1764) and used as a hospitality and conference centre for the racecourse.

  3. In lieu of 2in. mains.