Kew Gardens given lottery backing to restore glasshouse
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has won initial approval for £15m of lottery money to restore its Temperate House.
The Grade I listed glasshouse in south-west London is home to an array of palms and plants.
If awarded, the money will go towards a £28m project to restore the building - thought to be the world's largest surviving Victorian glass structure.
The government will underwrite a "substantial" amount of the outstanding £13m once the lottery cash is secured.
Kew Gardens is among five major schemes to be given backing for a share of £52m Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) money.
Final plans for the scheme will be submitted over the next two years ahead of a final decision by HLF.
Philanthropists Eddie and Sue Davies are among those who have pledged £890,900 to develop the plans for the Temperate House and surrounding area.
The government has also promised to step in with support if money for the scheme cannot be found.'Unique cultural landscape'
Prof Stephen Hopper, director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, said: "The Temperate House is an iconic World Heritage structure that is an important part of the UK's rich architectural heritage.
"HLF's initial support for the project along with underwriting from Defra and the support of (philanthropists) Eddie and Sue Davies has given us great momentum to launch further fundraising and bring the restoration project to fruition."
The 132-hectare site contains some of the world's largest and most famous botanical glasshouses and historic buildings.
In 2003 Kew was recognised as a "unique cultural landscape" by the United Nations which gave it World Heritage Site status.