News & Articles

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

In light of current events and government advice the shropshire national trust centre is suspending all activities for the time being. That means no meetings, committee meetings and walks. Thelma will be in touch with all those who have booked to go on the June holiday.

The situation will be kept under review and we hope to be able to resume our activities in the summer. It is hoped that the AGM, which was due to be held in April, will be able to take place in September.


We are in uncharted waters and all we can do is take each day as it comes, taking heed of advice we are given. I hope you all stay safe and we look forward to meeting with you again sooner rather than later.


CONSERVATORY RESTORATION PROJECT AT SUNNYCROFT

We are really pleased to be able to announce that the very first stages of this project are underway and we have interesting news for all those who have supported this project since it was first discussed a few years ago.  It is 120 years this year since the conservatory was built and so it is very fitting that we are able to tell you all more about it in this anniversary year.

We knew that the conservatory at Sunnycroft was special, in fact, it is listed on the Historic England record as a Grade II building in its own right.  It is described as: 'An unusually complete survival of a 19th century glasshouse by the prestigious firm of R. Halliday & Co.'

Before we began to work out what we were going to do to repair and restore the building we had to understand its significance thoroughly. Our curator, Sarah Kay, organised a glasshouse study day at Sunnycroft, including internal and external experts to look at the conservatory and discuss other similar projects.  We also linked up with a project at Walton Hall (not National Trust) in Warrington which had a Halliday glasshouse five times the size of ours under restoration.

Through this work we established that the conservatory at Sunnycroft is the only Halliday glasshouse that the National Trust owns and might be one of only two decorative conservatories by the firm left in the country.  We have heard that there is another one.... in Geneva!

R. Halliday & Co. built the Rothschild's glasshouses at Waddesdon Manor (the glasshouses not longer stand).  The Rothschilds were a wealthy European family with properties around the world.  A member of the family, we believe, having seen the Waddesdon glasshouse, must have commissioned them to then build one at their estate in Switzerland.  Without doubt we have to fully restore this building to high standards and ensure its survival.

Sunnycroft was built in 1880 but bought in 1893 and then hugely extended in 1899 by a lady names Mary Jane Slaney.  Virtually doubling the size of the property, building further outbuildings and installing the conservatory, Mrs Slaney was a wealthy widow and successful business woman in her own right and she wanted a home to match.

R.Halliday didn't just build Sunnycroft's conservatory; they were also commissioned to build the decorative cast iron and glazed roof veranda along the south front of the house and the glazed porch.

This was a key moment in time when cast iron and glass technology reached its zenith.  The conservatory would have been a state of the art horticultural and architectural masterpiece, a statement of the pride and aspiration of the upper middle class lady who commissioned it.

It reflects the Aesthetic Movement, a late 19th century style that championed beauty, colour, form, composition and 'art for art's sake'.