Dartmouth Green Partnerships is working with South Hams District Council on the replacement of the Dartmouth Community Greenhouse with a new structure which we hope will become an attractive feature of Royal Avenue Gardens and a community asset.
The old greenhouse had to be demolished in 2013 as it was unsafe. We used a temporary greenhouse of scaffolding and plastic sheeting to raise plants last summer. With the recent storms this has had to be taken down.
The Dartmouth Greenhouse was built in 1905 on the riverfront as part of the original layout of Royal Avenue Gardens, shortly after the area known as the ‘Newground’ was reclaimed and turfed. It can be seen on the old postcard below, along the front to the right of the moored paddle steamer.
The development of the grounds continued with flower beds, tree planting and gas-illuminations. In 1911 the present cast iron bandstand was built, considered at the time to be the finest in the South West. When first built the greenhouse had ‘fancy glass’ to the front. The centre portion was used as a conservatory for exotic plants and was open to the public. At the north end was what was erected as a potting shed and tool house, also housing the stokehole for the coke boiler. This is in what is now part of the Council depot.
The Greenhouse was originally used to grow the plants for the Gardens and flowers for the Council offices etc. The seed order for 1915 was 14 shillings! This use of the greenhouse (plus the other more recent greenhouse, now demolished) continued until just a few years ago.
For the past 10 years the Greenhouse has been used by Dartmouth in Bloom to cultivate plants for the benefit of the town and to house the plants of local residents who were in hospital or on holiday.