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University of Exeter

Introduction

The main campus of the University of Exeter is a registered botanic garden. The Streatham estate, acquired in 1922, is the nucleus of the University's spectacular site.

The Victorian planting has been admirably preserved. As the University expanded, a wide range of rare, interesting and beautiful plants have been used throughout the estate exploiting the micro-climates created by the buildings and the natural features of the site.

The setting is perhaps the most attractive of all the English universities. The 1931 master plan by Vincent Harris proposed a formal axis running up the slope to Reed Hall with the main buildings fanning out from it to take advantage of the views of the city. This plan was abandoned after the war and Sir William Holford devised a more informal layout of winding roads with self-contained groups of buildings along The Queen's Drive.

Please also see the separate record for Reed Hall.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

The main campus of the University is a registered botanic garden.

Owners

University of Exeter

History

The Streatham estate, acquired in 1922, is the nucleus of the University's spectacular site. The estate was laid out in the 1860s by Richard Thornton West, an East India merchant who, it is believed, spent £80,000 on Streatham Hall (now Reed Hall) and £70,000 on laying out and improving the estate.

The landscaping and tree planting was carried out by Veitch, whose plant collectors (including Wilson and the Lobb brothers) went to many parts of the world. At the time of planting on the estate many of the trees must have been unique in Europe.

Period

Early 20th Century (1901-1932)

Features & Designations

Designations

  • The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building

  • Reference: Chapel
  • Grade: II
Key Information

Type

Botanic Garden

Purpose

Ornamental Garden

Principal Building

University

Period

Early 20th Century (1901-1932)

Survival

Extant

Hectares

162

Open to the public

Yes

References

References

Contributors

  • Devon Gardens Trust