In 1836, the foundation stone of the Great Conservatory was laid by Lord Burlington (later 7th Duke of Devonshire) and plants were growing in it three years later.  This was the largest building at Chatsworth by Sir Joseph Paxton and was the forerunner of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham, built for the Great Exhibition of 1851. 

Sadly the plants died of cold and neglect during the First World War and, as it would have been a huge extravagance in the post-war austerity to maintain the conservatory in terms of fuel and labour, the 9th Duke of Devonshire took the decision to destroy it. 

The Conservatory withstood several attempts to blow it up, but finally gave way after a "very heavy charge".

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