Great Pagoda restoration, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Restoration of the Great Pagoda

Update 30/07/2018

Polly Putnam, one of the Historic Royal Palaces curators who has worked for the last 2 years on the restoration of the Great Pagoda, has kindly provided us with the text of the speech she made at the re-opening of the Great Pagoda, described in the update below.

Here is the text – it is a fascinating and very personal account of the meticulous research behind the restoration, uncovering definitive evidence that the dragons were indeed an original feature of the design.

Polly Putnam Great Pagoda opening talk

Update 13/07/2018

In recognition of our sponsorship of one of the newly restored dragons, we were invited by Historic Royal Palaces  to the opening of the Great Pagoda yesterday in the presence of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.

 

 

 

 

 

The Prince of Wales at the opening

The Pagoda is now open to access so you can climb to the top and take in the panoramic views across the Gardens and beyond. The dragons are most easily seen from the outside though you can see their snouts and the occasional claw if you look hard from inside.

The dragons restored

The ground floor entrance has been transformed with information on the history of the Pagoda, a panel showing who contributed to the restoration, including the Kew Society, and two large encased automata – turn the handles and different objects and figures in the scene start to move. Below is a picture of the Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Richard Deverell admiring one of the installations which depicts William Chambers, the architect of the Pagoda, visiting Canton.

Richard Deverell admiring the automata

At each level the floor you have reached is shown in beautiful lettering. Here is the number 5 – the level occupied by our dragon.

The floral lettering for the number of each level

At the top floor are equally beautifully executed descriptions of the vistas, including our dragon’s view of the Royal Observatory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is no doubt that the restoration was necessary. Here is a photo of one problem area now addressed:

Update 04/07/2018

The Great Pagoda within the Royal Botanic Gardens has been beautifully restored to its former glory. The meticulous work has been overseen by the Historic Royal Palaces. The Kew Society sponsored 1 of the flight of 80 dragons which were one of the original  features of the Pagoda. Our dragon is on level 5, position 6, and, appropriately we think given our concerns for the heritage of Kew, faces the historic King’s Observatory.
You can see our dragon here:
You can see more background to the history of the Great Pagoda here: https://www.kew.org/kew-gardens/attractions/great-pagoda
And on the King’s Observatory here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King%27s_Observatory

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

EVENTS

  • Wed
    10
    Jan
    2018
    5:30 pmRoyal Botanic Gardens, Kew

    We are delighted that Kew Society members have been offered a rare opportunity to visit the Economic

  • Wed
    17
    Jan
    2018
    5:30 pmRoyal Botanic Gardens, Kew

    Kew Society members were offered a rare opportunity to visit the Economic Botany Collection at the R

  • Mon
    12
    Feb
    2018
    7:30 pmDuke Street Church, Richmond. TW9 1DH

    Image of John Greening with garden plan

    Museum consultant and historian Val Bott has been studying

  • Mon
    12
    Feb
    2018
    2.15pm-3pmThe National Archives

    Kew Society members are being offered the opportunity to hear a presentation from PCSO Lorraine Chil

  • Mon
    26
    Feb
    2018
    7pm (doors open at 6.30)The National Archives

    Picture by Caroline Blomfield

    The Kew Society is delighted to welcome Dr Lee Prosser and Polly Putn

  • Wed
    07
    Mar
    2018
    6.45pm for 7pm startThe National Archives

    A316, early days.

    Paul Velluet, President of the Richmond Local History Society, Chartered Architec

  • Fri
    20
    Apr
    2018
    6.45pm for 7pm startThe National Archives

    Fallow Deer grazing in Richmond Park

    We are delighted to have the opportunity to show the film comm

  • Thu
    26
    Apr
    2018
    7.30pm (doors open at 7pm)Kew Community Centre, St Luke's in The Avenue, TW9 2AJ.

    This is a chance to hear Kew Ward candidates speak briefly and then answer your questions prior to t

  • Fri
    11
    May
    2018
    6:30 pmKew Gardens at Elizabeth Gate, Kew Green.

    Kew Palace, also known as the Dutch House, was built in 1631 for a Flemish merchant, Samuel Fortrey

  • Sat
    20
    Oct
    2018
    8:45 amWestminster Abbey

    Following the fast sellout of the September tour we are delighted to be able to offer a second tour.

  • Mon
    22
    Oct
    2018
    6:30 pmThe National Archives

    To all members, please join us at The National Archives for our Annual General Meeting.

    We will welc

  • Sun
    04
    Nov
    2018
    2pm or 3pmSandycoombe Rd. St Margaret's

    Turners House has been carefully restored and is now open to the public once more.

    Following the tw

  • Sat
    10
    Nov
    2018
    10:00 amGreen Dragon Lane, Over Kew Bridge

    To address concerns about the poor quality of London water, Kew Bridge works opened in 1838 to pump