Browse By

North of England manufacturing success story Hartley Botanic to bring largest glasshouse to RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Hartley Botanic, England’s most historic and respected Glasshouse and Greenhouse manufacturer, is showing its largest ever Victorian-style Glasshouse at RHS Chelsea Flower Show next week. At 8.146m long and 4.128m wide, the stately Victorian Manor Glasshouse reflects a trend for larger and grander Victorian-style structures amongst its customers and evokes the scale of the business’ global expansion. Joined by a Modern Opus Glasshouse, a practical Wisley 8 Grow and Store and a Patio Glasshouse, these handcrafted, luxury structures have all been made in Hartley Botanic’s more than 100-year-old founding factory in Greenfield, Lancashire, overlooked by the dramatic Pennines’ Chew Valley.

Tom Barry, CEO of Hartley Botanic said; “Hartley Botanic has a long history supplying Glasshouses for the Royal Horticultural Society and has been exhibiting at RHS Chelsea Flower Show for at least 70 years. This year, we are showing our largest ever structure, which is testament both to customer preferences and our growth as a business. With our master craftsmen still working from our original factory, gardeners globally are now enjoying Hartley Botanic Greenhouses and the USA is our largest growth market. RHS Chelsea this year is an exciting ‘line in the sand’ for us, showing how far our Glasshouses ‘proudly made’ in Lancashire have come.”

Hartley Botanic’s commitment to English manufacture and local employment (over 80 percent of its factory workforce is recruited from the surrounding area) comes at a time when its beautiful structures are being sold in increasing numbers around the world. The business is a manufacturing success story, both in terms of its growth and in its uncompromising commitment to the English provenance of its Greenhouses, made with traditional, time-honoured methods of craftsmanship.

In April last year, the business was presented with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category by the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester Mrs Diane Hawkins JP LLB, for Outstanding Short-Term Growth following a 144 percent increase in its overseas sales between 2017 and 2020, and the subsequent transformation of its strongest markets. The business has been selling its Glasshouses and Greenhouses internationally for over 20 years and has enjoyed a strong following in the USA, Germany, and Scandinavia, but in the last seven years, its global trade has built significantly. American customers particularly, are falling for both the businesses’ quintessentially English-looking Victorian Glasshouses and its contemporary Modern Horticulture range which has proved popular in the state of California. Hartley Botanic’s entire and incomparable range is available for sale worldwide, which includes its Victorian, Heritage, Modern and bespoke structures.

Despite this, when it comes to safeguarding its reputation, Hartley Botanic has chosen to balance modern innovation with maintaining approaches that have worked for over 85 years. This includes keeping manufacture firmly in its original factory, continuing local employment and, in some cases, using traditional tools. The approach is working. Today the brand is synonymous for crafting ‘the finest Greenhouses money can buy’ through the very highest standards of hard-won experience, craftsmanship and service. A hugely respected brand within the horticultural world, it is the manufacturer of choice for leading organisations, institutions, and designers. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has also officially recognised the company’s enduring commitment to English craftsmanship by endorsing its entire product range[1].

Tom Barry, CEO of Hartley Botanic said; “We have always had a strong domestic demand for our Greenhouses but, over the last few years, demand has become decidedly international.

“As a business, we have made a proactive decision to keep manufacturing firmly in England. Fundamental to our business’ longevity and its trusted reputation is the knowledge and craftsmanship built-into every single one of our Greenhouses. Committing our production to the north of England is critical to maintaining the quality of our product – ensuring its unparalleled durability, design, and beauty. We are so confident of the structural integrity of our ‘made in England Greenhouses;’ a 30-year Lifetime Guarantee is offered[2].

“It is a great source of pride for our Lancashire team to know that the Greenhouses they make on a daily basis are being treasured and enjoyed around the world.”

The business continues to grow, currently employing over 150 colleagues within its operations worldwide.

Hartley Botanic was founded in 1938 by brothers Vincent (RHS fellow) and Norman Hartley following their ground-breaking aluminium Greenhouse design, the first time (to our knowledge) aluminium had been used in Greenhouse construction and marking a huge improvement on its wood and wrought iron Victorian forerunners. The English manufacturer is an authority on Greenhouse design and use over the decades, having been making its beautiful and elegant handmade, made-to-order horticultural buildings for 85 years.