Pearson Conservatory

Botanical Gardens / Landmarks in or near St Georges Park, Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Eastern Cape Tourist AttractionsPearson Conservatory

Where? Pearson Conservatory, St George's Park, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape

Overnight? Stay in St Georges Park, in Eastern Cape

Think Kew Gardens conservatory (but on a far smaller scale) and you'll have an idea of what to expect from the Pearson Conservatory.

This striking Victorian conservatory was officially opened in 1882 and named for the then mayor of Port Elizabeth. The 25 foot wide central building opens up to a skylight, whilst down either end of it are perfectly balanced east and west wings.

Between 2009 and 2011 the conservatory underwent a complete re-creation, rather than restoration (so much of the wood that was the building's substructure had rotted and the idea was to make the building last), after it was saved from demolition in the 1970s.

The restoration has managed to marry the need for endurance with preserving the building's original character. Today it's a Grade 2 listed building.

As part of the process of restoring the building its original cast iron structure was maintained, but the timber substructure was completely replaced with galvanised steel tubing. Into this they inserted meranti handmade window panes and doors (replacing the former pine doors and windows) and mimicked the original timber mouldings with moulded fibreglass.

What you're left with is a contemporary take on a Victorian theme that pays tribute to the original beautifully. The team used old photographs and records so that they could display similar plants to those that originally featured in the conservatory, although they vary through the year depending on the weather.

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