Off-set surveying of the Aviaries
In the gardens at Poltimore there are four circular drinking bowls lined with small blue mosaic tiles which indicate the location of three of the six aviaries. These are not the only features of the aviaries that remain; alongside the drinking bowls are the remains of concrete floors, brick walls, drainage gullies and drains indicating that at least two of the aviaries were substantial structures. It is believed that they were constructed in the late 19th /early 20th century to accommodate Lord Poltimore’s extensive collection of birds.
As part of the historical documentary research we have conducted we have been able to find a few references to the aviaries but we have not established a precise date for their construction, nor have we discovered who designed and built them. However, with the help of volunteers, we have recorded what is left of the two largest aviaries using sketch surveys, tape off-set surveying and photography.
During the surveying we cleared back some of the undergrowth and managed to find the extent of two of the aviaries and determined the size of their interior and exterior sections. Surprisingly, the interior spaces appear to be just as large as the exterior. Although we don’t have the original plans we have begun to build a picture of how they looked from the physical remains that are left, from the brief description of the aviaries in the 1921 Poltimore Estate sales catalogue, old photographs and by looking at other aviaries designed at the same time.
Below are the plans of the two largest aviaries at Poltimore (click to see large versions)
One of the volunteers has been researching the context in which Aviaries and other garden features became popular during the Victorian period.
Follow the link to read her results