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Our History » The Nineteenth century

The Nineteenth Century

In the nineteenth century the 3rd Duke of Northumberland started another series of major works at Syon.  Exceedingly wealthy from the proceeds of coal mining and shipping, he extensively reworked the exterior of the House, by cladding the entire structure in Bath stone and adding a Porte Cochere.  Domestic imperatives were addressed with a new range of kitchens and the construction of the Oak Passage.  Outside, the old service buildings were removed, and a fine new range of ornamental stables built, centred on the Riding School with its magnificent steel truss roof.  Equally modern technologies were applied to the design of the Great Conservatory, where the use of cast iron allowed for a very large area of glass, and a remarkably delicate structure.
 
Exotic trees and shrubs started to arrive at Syon from North America in the late eighteenth century, and many of these original introductions still flourish today.  The rate of introduction accelerated as fresh areas were opened up by the growth of trade and the work of plant hunters.  New discoveries from the Himalayas and China were added to the collection, and in 1833 a German visitor was struck by “a multitude of gigantic exotic trees in the open air”.
 
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