RHS starts £27m modernisation programme after selling halls to Westminster School

The RHS will launch a huge programme of innovation and modernisation in 2012 financed by selling Lawrence Hall to Westminster School for £18m.

RHS show at Westminster Halls - image: RHS
RHS show at Westminster Halls - image: RHS

This campaign is made possible by the charity raising £18 million, from its own resources, for investment.

The RHS will also start a fundraising campaign to raise a further £9 million. The combined investment fund of £27 million will allow the charity, over the next five years, to make "some of the most significant and exciting changes in its history".

RHS director general Sue Biggs said: "Our plans will help transform communities, add much needed scientific knowledge and safeguard horticulture for the benefit of future generations and the environment. If you care about our planet, you should care about plants and that’s why we want everyone to share the best in gardening.

"We believe passionately in the need to invest in the future of horticulture and give more people more opportunities to garden."

The £18 million has come from granting a 999 year lease of the RHS’ Lawrence Hall and Conference Centre in London to Westminster School. Under this agreement the RHS will continue to use these facilities for its existing four London Flower Shows.

Plans include:

RHS Lindley Library & Hall, London

The RHS plans to redevelop the Lindley Hall and Library to create a new space for a larger, open plan library and exhibition gallery.

Horticultural Science

The Society plans to create a world-class scientific research centre for the benefit of all gardeners and the environment.

 

RHS Urban Garden

The RHS plans to create its first inner city garden as an oasis of green for local residents, offering educational initiatives, including school visits, workshops and inspirational gardening courses. Working with local schools and community groups the garden would offer hands on learning experiences, such as Grow Your Own workshops. A wide variety of locations and opportunities will be explored in the search for this garden.

RHS Regional Centres

Across the UK, in urban and rural locations, the RHS plans to work with partners to create regional centres based at RHS gardens or partner colleges and gardens. The first two centres are planned to open during 2012. Working in all forms of community gardening, the charity would support local groups such as Britain in Bloom, It’s Your Neighbourhood, local gardening clubs and schools involved in the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, to recruit more supporters and create links with local businesses to ensure sustainable funding.

RHS Online

The RHS plans to invest in its online presence to provide a more engaging, interactive website with a wealth of ideas and expertise, which would be the first port of call for all levels of gardeners. The site would include enhanced video content and new online tools and apps aimed at helping gardeners and providing a voice for them.

RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey

To give the one million adults and children who visit RHS Wisley annually an inspirational and interactive learning experience, the RHS plans include creating two additional teaching rooms, and a new exhibition space and event facility. More space would be created to enable specialist nurseries to promote British grown, rare and unusual plants with additional room to enjoy the most extensive range of horticultural books on sale for gardeners in the UK. A new restaurant will be added and RHS Wisley’s entrance transformed to uplift the sense of arrival that befits a garden of such international importance.

RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Essex

The plan is to dramatically increase spectacular horticultural content at RHS Hyde Hall, including creating the UK’s largest cultivated perennial meadow and a beautiful Mediterranean edible garden, featuring olives, lavender and grapevines. A new Learning Centre would also be created for children and adults to develop their gardening skills, meaning all four RHS gardens would now have significant education facilities.


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