House of Hackney draws inspiration from its rich and multi-layered environs and Loddiges, the world-renowned Victorian nursery garden and hot house which once stood near Mare Street – where Hackney Town Hall is now – has proven to be a longstanding source of fascination for the brand. Originally influencing the iconic ‘Palmeral’ print; House of Hackney’s founders, Frieda Gormley and Javvy M Royle, have named their recently renovated Victorian townhouse ‘Loddiges’ in homage to the historic nursery. A stone’s throw away from where the nursey would have stood, its orangery-inspired kitchen doors, light-filled rooms and abundance of plants throughout capture the mood. “We wanted both the architectural design and the interiors aesthetic of the house to really be in harmony to Loddiges.” Frieda explains. The pair’s love of botanicals and their quest to bring a sense of the outdoors into the interior is a theme that is intrinsic to many of House of Hackney’s most popular collections.
Described as a ‘latter-day Eden’, the original Loddiges was home to the world’s largest hothouse where scenes reminiscent of a tropical rainforest could be found. Founded by Joachim Conrad Loddiges, the already thriving nursery really came into its own when it was taken over by his two sons George and William in the 1820s. Famed for its collection of orchids and ferns, the nursery was a pioneer in the import and cultivation of rare exotic plants into Britain and attracted visitors from all over Europe and its vast stove house became known as the Grand Palm House. Here palms flourished like nowhere else in the world, set amidst an array of other tropical plants.
In the Herbarium Library at Kew there is a list drawn up by William Loddiges, stating the names of 151 plants which the nursery introduced into general cultivation in Britain between 1782 and 1806. These included the aromatic Siberian Gentian and Cape Heaths.
Over time, Loddiges supplied plants to Kew Gardens, Woburn Abbey, Chatsworth House, St James’ Park and Kensington Gardens to name but a few. However, its influence extended far beyond Britain, with its plants finding homes as far away as the Imperial Gardens of St. Petersburg and the Adelaide Botanic Garden.
Unfortunately, following the deaths of William and George and due to the changing London landscape, the once flourishing family business finally closed its gates to the Victorian world in 1852. Two years later, Londoners witnessed the stately procession of thirty-two plumed horses as they drew a giant palm tree, the jewel in the Loddiges Nursery’s crown, to its final resting place at the Crystal Palace, Sydenham.
House of Hackney hopes to keep the spirit of Loddiges alive and inspire a new generation through its dedication to celebrating the story of this iconic palm house.