BBC Fresh: Hothouse Flower, green spaces and the lost mystique of Moorbank

Posted on February 13, 2014


Lindsay Bramwell was a volunteer at the Moorbank Botanic Gardens in Newcastle upon Tyne. Used as a research facility by the University of Newcastle, the site lease for the gardens was not renewed in autumn 2013 leading to speculation that the greenhouses would be turned off and the facility shut down. All of the exotic plant species in the greenhouses were under threat. Volunteers were told that their services would no longer be needed.

This film documents some of the plant species and what drives volunteers like Lindsay to give their time. She talks about her love of plants, the heat and warmth of the greenhouses, the benefit of green spaces and gardening and the future for Moorbank. At the time of filming some plants were being removed and rehomed in the Glasgow Botanic Gardens.

The future is uncertain. The freemen of Newcastle – who graze cattle and maintain a large grassy area nearby called the Town Moor – own the lease and have been clearing the site. For what purpose is unknown. Moorbank could be a viable sponsored and visited site, with paid membership. It could be opened up to teach people about the many varieties of plant life on our planet and environmental principles.

Nobody knows what the future holds, but Lindsay feels the loss of Moorbank would be a loss for the people of Newcastle and for anyone who wants to learn more about nature.

See this video and others like it at BBC3 Fresh: