Westbury’s Picks – Margam Country Park, Port Talbot, Wales27 Feb
The latest in our Westbury's Picks series
The orangery at Margam was built between 1787 – 1793 to house a large collection of orange, lemon and citron trees inherited by Thomas Mansel Talbot together with the Margam Estate and the now vanished Margam House.
The main body of the orangery where the trees were kept during the winter months spans 275 feet making it the longest in Britain. The building is narrow, only 30 feet wide, so the light from the 27” tall round headed windows can flood the whole interior. The back of the building was plain except for double doors for carrying the trees in and out, so from May to October the plants were taken outside via the high rear entrance and placed around the fountain in the garden.
Built at a cost of £16,000 the collection of orange trees was maintained at Margam right up to the outbreak of the Second World War when the orangery was requisitioned for military use and was occupied by American forces. Unfortunately, the trees had to be left buy bulk hydrocodone outside and failed to survive the winter weather.
After the end of the war, a new collection of citrus trees was introduced at Margam but sadly, after two centuries there was a need for extensive renovation of the orangery and surrounding buildings. This was finally completed and the orangery was re-opened by Her Majesty the Queen during her Silver Jubilee visit in June 1977 and now continues to be used as a thriving venue for concerts and family events.
A listed Grade I building, Westbury very much admires the classicism of Margam Country Park together with its sense of purpose. It is something we intuitively believe in; combining balance and harmony, scale and symmetry but ensuring it is a living, flowing space that meets the needs of those living there. That is why Margam is Westbury’s pick this month.