The following is an extract from An Encyclopaedia of Gardening: Comprising the Theory and Practice of Horticulture, Floriculture & Arboriculture and Landscape Gardening, John Claudius Loudon, (Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown & Green, London, 1824):
As an example of the power and convenience of steam as a medium of conveying heat to hot-houses, we may refer to the garden, mansion, and farm-yard of Edward Gray, Esq., of Harringay House, Hornsey, where ten large hot-houses, and the largest of them 550 feet from the boiler, have been heated in a masterly manner Messrs. Bailey. There are for this purpose two boilers (fig. 276 a&b): one smaller than the other for mild weather, and when the whole of the forcing-houses are not in operation; and the other larger as a reserve boiler in case of accident, as an accessory power in extremely severe weather, or for use alone in cold weather. A main from these boilers heats in succession two graperies (c, d), two pineries (e,f), a peach house (g), strawberry-pit (h), plant-stove (i), grapery (k), green-house (l), conservatory (m), and a mushroom-house, in all upwards of 50,000 cubit feet of air. In addition it supplies a steam apparatus in the farm yard (n); and it would also heat the mansion (o) if required. The boilers to this steam apparatus are on the most approved construction: they are fitted with furnaces for consuming the smoke (p), have safety valves (q), a supply cistern (r) , and chimneys (s) sufficiently high to prevent what smoke or contaminated air may pass off by them from injuring the garden. So effectually is heat carried by the steam, that at the extreme distance from the boiler (t) a thermometer applied to the steam-pipe will rise to within two degrees of what it will stand at close to the boiler. The whole is a most masterly performance.
The diagrams referred to are hard to read, but below is the best copy I could make:
Using both diagrams and text, I've mapped the info from Loudon on to the 1880 Harringay House sale map to bring to life for the first time (for me) what some of the buildings around the house were. The letters I've added to the diagram below are those from Loudon's text above:
I've just found out that in the eighteenth century pineapples were so prized that they cost the equivalent of £5,000 in today's money. Begins to explain why Gray was growing them and underscores what a luxury they were.
I once heard a radio play based on story about a man sent on a quest by his beloved. She asks him to bring her a fabulous fruit which is reputed to carry the sign of the cross within it. And when after years of journeying he eventually brings her a dry and rather shrivelled-up banana . . .
Anyone know where this comes from?
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