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Garden Museum

Garden Museum

On the outside is an ancient church, but inside sits an innovative architectural timber structure that has rescued this historical building and transformed it into one of London’s main museum attractions. 

Garden museum building painted with linseed paint

This abandoned church is the burial place of John Tradescant (c1570 – 1638), the first great gardener and plant-hunter in British History. To save the church from demolition in 1977 it became a Garden Museum. Then in 2008 architects Dow Jones transformed the interior of the church using a fantastic two-storey structure which wraps around the aisles of the existing building. 

Garden museum building painted with linseed paint

Architect Joe Howland said: “Phase one was to design and install a new timber structure to extend the existing one. It’s been a slow process as it’s a very old building. We’ve had to think carefully about the archaeology of the church. We are hoping to have phase two complete next March.”

Garden museum building painted with linseed paint

Phase two includes painting both the new and old timber structures using linseed paint. “I’m really pleased with the samples. The darker knots on the older timber aren’t causing any problems, which I’d initially expected,” says Joe.

Joe has chosen to dilute the linseed paint with some raw linseed oil. “I’d like to create an effect where the knots of the wood show through and create a natural feel to the Garden Museum,” says Joe.

Garden museum building painted with linseed paint

The new timber structures create a pathway to guide visitors through the exhibitions. The timber walls create new galleries for the permanent collection and for temporary exhibitions. There’s also a new education room.

The new interior layout of the building has also allowed the museum’s wide range of events and workshops to take place including over 30 talks and interviews, plant sales and much more.

Garden museum building painted with linseed paint

Here at Oricalcum we've really enjoyed following the progress of the project and are excited to see it finished once the linseed paint has been applied.