Help restore our
historic glasshouses
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A message from Monty Don

Ever since I first visited, as a young man back in the early 1980’s, I have always loved Chelsea Physic Garden as a garden and for its long and fascinating history. It was not until later that I discovered that I have a personal connection with the Garden through my ancestor, the botanist George Don, who was a foreman at the Physic Garden in the early 1800’s, so perhaps the connection is my blood. In its past, the Garden has been fortunate in having supporters who have stepped in to safeguard its future. This benevolence has meant that it has been protected as a site for learning about plants. So I am delighted that The John Browne Charitable Trust has chosen to support the fundraising for the Garden’s elegant Victorian glasshouses. The project will have a far-reaching impact because it is so much more than the conservation of these important buildings. Plants, of course, will feature centre-stage, and many of their fascinating stories are waiting to be shared with a wider audience.


Every donation of £100 and above will be matched by the JCBT up to a total of £500,000. Ends 31 March 2021

#raisethetemperature #hothousechallenge

The Challenge

The Hothouse Challenge was launched in October 2020 and ran until 31 March 2021 to raise the remaining £1m needed for our Glasshouse Restoration project. 

In 2019, with the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) we brought together a team of heritage conservation experts who have finalised our plans to restore heritage, cultivate and share stories, and protect our plants for everyone. 

The total cost of the project is £2.75m. Prior to launching the Hothouse Challenge, we had already received £1m in support from trusts, foundations, and generous individuals. Then, in March 2021, we received news of a second-round grant of £680,700 from the NLHF.

The Hothouse Challenge raised the final £1m to put our plans into action, with the help of The John Browne Charitable Trust (JBCT) who matched all donations of £100 or above. JBCT was established 20 years ago by Chelsea resident Lord John Browne of Madingley to support causes associated with his life as an engineer, businessman, patron of the arts, and son of a Holocaust survivor. To find out more, please visit:

Any additional funds raised will help us as we forge ahead with the project.

Tropical Corridor restored
New displays and climate controls
An engaging andinspiring activity programme
Better access for all and a new visitor route
All glasshouses restored for future generations

How your donation will help

An enduring part of London’s heritage, our glasshouses contribute to the special atmosphere of the Garden as a ‘living museum’. They are as rare as some of the plants they house, needing support to survive.

Help us share the importance of plants and bring new stories to life. Your support will see the glasshouses become like living laboratories, with new interpretations and activities for all ages.

Plant conservation is at the very heart of all that we do. Help us to support plant health and improve visitor access. Together we can provide the optimum climate for growth.

A thank you from Nell Jones, Head of Plant Collections

As London’s oldest botanic garden, our collection of 5000 plants reflects the important role plants play in the survival and wellbeing of humankind with their many uses – from edible to medicinal.

Whilst I am Head of Plant Collections now, I started at Chelsea Physic Garden nearly ten years ago as a volunteer who was getting into horticulture. I trained here and know and love the glasshouses. I have probably raised 50,000 plants in them and helped conserve the many rare and precious species they house.

Like me, they have been working hard and are showing the effects! It makes me sad to see them in such a state of disrepair, despite our best efforts to care for them. They were built to be admired, rather than hidden away, but now need a lot more work than us Gardeners can do alone. I hope you can help us by donating to their restoration.


Help us raise the temperature – be part of the Hothouse Challenge.

All donations welcome until 31 March 2021, those of £100 and above will be matched by The John Browne Charitable Trust up to a total of £500,000

If you would like to donate by cheque please make payable to The Chelsea Physic Garden Company and send it to Fundraising, Chelsea Physic Garden, 66 Royal Hospital Road, London, SW3 4HS. Alternatively, if you would like to make a bank transfer please get in touch with us directly.