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'Rotting'building wrongly listed

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A Grade I-listed greenhouse that urgently needs £1 million 'to stop it falling into the ground' was originally listed by accident, it has emerged.

According to up-to-date academic research, Camellia House in Chiswick Gardens is inaccurately attributed in English Heritage records to Joseph Paxton, who would have been only 12 years old when it was built in 1813.

English Heritage listed the building, which is located in the grounds of Chiswick House in west London, in May 1973, believing it to be the work of Paxton, who also designed Crystal Palace in south London.

But ongoing internal research by the heritage body now attributes the 90m structure to Samuel Ware.

English Heritage has yet to update its records, because, a spokesperson claims, 'it hasn't yet been approached to do so'.

Rupert Hambro, chairman of a new trust recently set up to raise monies for the park, claimed that the conservatory is 'rotting and not in the best of shape'.

The £1 million is part of the estimated £7.2 million needed to return Chiswick House and Gardens to their former glory, with £4.9 million hopefully coming from a recent bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

English Heritage has also secured funds from private donor the Wolfson Foundation, which it has matched with money from its own coffers.

Hounslow council is thought to have committed only £200,000 a year towards the park's upkeep and improvement.

Adrian Cooke, fundraising project manager for the new Chiswick House and Gardens Trust, who trained at the Architectural Association, said that the park and its buildings were allowed to fall into disrepair through lack of funds.

The estate was previously maintained by the council, which had a ring-fenced park budget used for a number of green spaces across the borough.

The new charitable trust will be a joint venture between English Heritage and the London Borough of Hounslow to oversee the maintenance and fundraising of Chiswick House, its gardens, and its outbuildings.

The first phase of its work will be concerned predominately with physical works on the park, including improving infrastructure and paths, which will proceed as soon as funds are available.

The second phase will look at how to rehouse facilities such as the ticket office and retail from the house to a newly built structure within the grounds.

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