The Lion Gate of Kew Gardens

From Kew: The History of the Royal Botanic Gardens by Ray Desmond:

“…In Kew’s early days, visitors had entered the Botanic Garden via a small wooden door in the arboretum wall which stretched from the last house on the south side of Kew Green to the stables standing east of Kew Palace. A separate gate admitted visitors to part of the Gardens known at the time as the Pleasure Grounds.

Thomas Hardwick, a former pupil of Sir William Chambers and now Clerk of Works for Hampton Court, Richmond and Kew, was instructed in 1821 to design entrance lodges to the enclosed portion of Kew Green, “thus separating the royal domains from the intrusion of vulgar curiosity”. By Act of Parliament in 1823 authorising this enclosure, George IV undertook to make new roads on the south and north sides of the Green and along the riverside to the Brentford Ferry…In 1825 a low wall with railings crossed Kew Green…In the centre elaborate iron gates were flanked by two lodges bearing the royal supporters, the lion and the unicorn…

Another acquisition of land was successfully negotiated in 1822. The lease of some 20 acres on which the Pagoda stood had expired in 1819; its owner, William Selwyn, now surrendered it to the Crown in exchange for land on the other side of the Kew Road…”

From: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: World Heritage Site nomination document:

“This gate marks the location of the Pagoda Gate, one of the original late 18th/early 19th century entrances to the Pleasure Gardens at Kew. The statue of a Lion that tops the gate formerly stood on one of the entrance lodges associated with the early-19th century main gates. After these were removed the Lion was first moved to another “Lion Gate” near the current Cumberland Gate but sometime after 1840 it was moved again to the Pagoda Gate, which was then renamed the Lion Gate.”

From: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: World Heritage Site management plan:

Lion Gate – provides visitor access from Richmond and marks the southern extent of the Kew Road brick boundary wall. Here the setting for the gate from outside the Gardens is provided by the Lions Gate Lodge and its metal railings, which sit beyond the end of the Gardens’ long brick wall. There is a linear long distance view into the Gardens from this gate, of a tree lined tarmacked avenue behind the Pagoda, but the eye cannot roam as trees restrict the view in any other direction. The Lion Gate Lodge is also part of the setting of the Lion Gate from inside the Gardens, currently hidden behind incongruous lap fencing.”

From Historic England entry:

“Permission for a lodge to be constructed at Pagoda Gate (as it was then known) was granted in 1851 and the original lodge was probably built with salvaged bricks. Later, in 1863, permission was again granted for construction and this second lodge seems to have replaced the first.

Late C18 or early C19, in single opening. Gateway in yellow gauged brick with portico above cornice. On top a buff terracotta (possibly lodestone) lion couchant with coronet (facing north). c.f. The Unicorn Gate.”

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