Monday, October 1, 2007

Kew Palace (London) – A Royal Residence once upon a time


Part of the famed Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew, in London, the Kew Palace is actually one of the Royal Palaces in use by the British Royal Family, though it now opened to the public as a museum.

Originally constructed a private manor by a Dutch trader, Samuel Fortrey in 1631, it was called the Dutch House. Later on King George II and his wife, Caroline lived here while King George was extending the Richmond Gardens. In 1781, their son, George III, who moved his extended family here, purchased it.

The building, which is noted for its distinctive, decorative carved brickwork and rounded gables, is constructed in what is known as the Flemish Bond style with bricks arranged with sides and ends alternating. The front entrance, which is gabled, gives a house a very ‘Dutch’ appearance, but later alternations have changed certain original installations especially the original sash windows.

In 1818, when the lady in residence, Queen Charlotte died, Kew palace was closed down. In December 1896, the palace was included into the Kew Gardens properties, with the consent of the then monarch, Queen Victoria.

In the 1960s the Queen Gardens were constructed by then Director Kew Gardens, Sir George Taylor, in 17-century style that includes only those plants that existed in that era.

Administered separately by the Historic Royal Palaces department, the palace recently underwent a major restoration and was re-opened to the public in 2006 like many other royal palaces.

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