Earlier this year we worked closely with the sister site at Kew but have now been asked to provide a solution at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh whose history dates back to 1670 when it began as Scotland’s first physic garden on a modest patch of ground at Holyrood Park no bigger than a tennis court. Today the garden comprises 70 acres with its magnificent Victorian Temperate Palm House at its heart.
The glasshouse is the tallest of its kind in Britain with the glorious entrance allowing visitors the opportunity to explore ten distinct climatic zones holding around one percent of all known flowering plants, cycads and ferns. Access to the roof of this, and many of the other smaller glasshouses was not an issue in Victorian Britain. You could always find a small child and a stick with a sharp point. In today health and safety climate these things need to be done more carefully.
The ladders in use around the site are manufactured from heavy galvanised steel made before aluminium was available in the many forms and extrusions it is today. TB Davies has designed a complete set of specially made ladders that are designed to fit each of the octagonal structures individually sloping rooflines. Access to other parts of the structure will be made safer by providing a series of small ladders to allow safe access and egress to the ladders mounted on the houses.
The light levels in this house are far lower than those in the glasshouse range built in the 1960s. This is because of the wide stone pillars. Since the temperature never falls below 10°C, many frost-tender species thrive here. The ladder system has also been designed to remain sympathetic to the buildings architectural heritage and remain as unobtrusive as possible. A full inspection, training and operating system has been incorporated to ensure safety and long-term maintenance issues are in place for the future.