Loddiges of Hackney the largest hothouse in the world

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By David Solman

For one hundred years the most famous nursery garden in Europe stood near Mare Street close to today's Town Hall. Here tropical plants grew and flowered for the first time outside their native rainforest. 'I fancied myself in the Brazils' wrote a visitor, in wonderment at the artificial tropical rainstorm inside the largest hothouse in the world.

Here too was a vast tree collection which enabled the nearby Abney Park Cemetery to be laid out with 2,500 different kinds of trees and shrubs, making it the largest arboretum in Europe.

Abroad, the nursery's influence spread to the imperial gardens of St Petersburg in Russia and the Adelaide Botanic Garden in Australia. The book brings the strands of this fascinating story together for the first time.

1995 | 96pp | £8 + P&P | ISBN 978-0-9506558-9-5

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This page was added on 06/07/2009.
Comments about this page

Are you aware that Loddiges Place still exists? I believe the remaining original houses of which it is comprised are of historical importance to the borough. They are deteriorating and I believe they should be protected. If you are not aware of them, I would be glad to point them out to you. Originally there were four houses in Conrad Loddiges' development. One and a half remain - one in original condition, but in danger of deterioration, one original fabric, except the top of the front wall and cornice, the other two rebuilt, presumably after war damage. An extra one was added at the rebuilding. At present, these are only my opinions, but they are the right age and Sian, at Hackney Archives is looking at early maps, to find out whether they are identifiable in any.

By Mike Dean
On 29/10/2009

Pronunciation of the name Loddiges: After attending David Solman's talk at the London Parks and Gardens Trust on 12 April 2010 I was asked this question. I remember the family saying how often the name was mispronounced: my grandmother was Oenone Loddiges and I knew Leslie and Marjorie Loddiges all my life until their deaths. The 'iges' is pronounced as in 'bridges'. I hope this is helpful!

By Marcus Carr
On 26/05/2010

As a plant photographer this was really interesting - and think it is sad that we cannot at least have the 'hothouse' in Springfield Park in the 21st Century!! I would love to learn more about this family business do something more in-depth about this theme.

By Alix Edwards
On 07/11/2011