While filming an archeological dig, SalfordOnline.com was shocked to discover the skeletal remains of the once-grand Buile Hill Park hothouse in Salford.
Generations of Salfordians will remember with affection the glass-paned greenhouse, which was built in Edwardian times, some 20 years or so after Buile Hill opened as a public park in 1903.
Popular with school parties and visitors to the park, the magnificent building held three seperate rooms, each one getting progressively hotter as you passed through.
There was an otherwordly quality to it, with huge tropical plants and a large fish tank, fed by a constant stream of hot water from large cast iron pipes underneath the shelves.
As you can see by the short film below, the structure has been left to rack and ruin.
The first room that you entered was one which had a moderate climate with examples of British fauna.
The next room was warmer and had exotic plants such as orchids, cacti, ferns and plants whose names I couldn’t even pronounce.
For me the final room was the best, I suppose you could call the temperature tropical with hot steamy water clouding up the glass panels.
It had a banana tree which actually grew the fruit, sometimes stolen by the cheekier schoolboy, but the pride and joy was the large stone tropical fish tank which teemed with goldfish and shubunkin, a more colourful breed of goldfish.
The water was hot and as a child it was a thrill to go there and marvel at them, the only time I recall seeing one, was when the fairground came around.
A constant stream of gardeners worked on tending the plants and making sure the goldfish weren’t stolen.
It closed in the 1980’s and has remained closed to this day, presumably for financial reasons.
To see this marvellous structure to be allowed to go to ruin is heartbreaking in my opinion, it was the along with Buile Hill Mansion – which closed in 2000 – possibly the main attraction in the park.
Now trees have grown through the roof of the building, the woodwork is rotting, every glass panel has been removed, weeds choke up the pathway and it looks in imminent danger of collapse.
The weather vane still remains on the roof the only reminder of what this once beautiful building was, a poignant reminder of our city’s proud past.
There are currently no plans to refurbish or rescue the structure but I think we can safely assume that it will be earmarked for demolition, which will be a sad day to say the least.