We went for a walk near Chatsworth House today. They have cleaned the stone and painted parts of it gold ... it's looking great!
Joseph Paxton - 1803 - 1865
Chatsworth Head Gardener
Apparently Paxton accepted the position and immediately caught a train to Chatsworth. He climbed over a wall to gain admittance because the Duke was abroad. He spent his first day wandering round the grounds and meeting the housekeeper's daughter - she was destined to become Mrs Paxton.
Another one of Paxton's structures which has been lost to us was built to house a giant lily named after Queen Victoria, Victoria amazonica, Paxton had been given the specimen after it had failed to flower for the staff at Kew Gardens. The Chatsworth gardeners succeeded. The leaves of the plant are large enough to accommodate a child.
|After the Great Exhibition the Crystal Palace was moved to Penge|
Paxton is most famous for designing Crystal Palace - the building that housed the Great Exhibition of 1851. Over 200 designs were submitted. Paxton drew his on a piece of blotting paper. The building was erected in just six months, with 293,655 panes of glass, 330 huge iron columns and 24 miles of gutters. It was destroyed by fire in 1936.
Sir Paxton was knighted in 1851. He died in 1865. He had packed a lot into his 62 years:
- During the 1830s Paxton was editor of a horticultural magazine and set up The Daily News ( appointing Charles Dickens as editor).
- Paxton's Flower Garden was published in three volumns between 1850 and 1853
- He was a leading figure in the railways and improved his wealth through investing in their development.
- From 1854 to 1865 he was MP for Coventry.
- We can still see his influence today in many of our public parks as he was responsible for landscaping in many parts of the country.
An illustration from Paxton's Flower Garden: