Helping our gardens grow.......

A New Botanical Learning Centre

in the

Heart of Penzance

The Morrab Botanical Gardens is a beautiful subtropical garden in the heart of Penzance. Nestled in the grounds sits the practically derelict, former stables building... 


The Hypatia Trust, with the  Friends of Morrab Gardens Penzance Town Council, Cornwall Council and the  Pengarth Day Centre are working together to revitalize the old Morrab stables to create The Gardeners' House  - a new learning centre for botanical and horticultural projects, which will include a natural history reading room, lecture hall, open-air laboratory for ‘citizen science’ and communal activity spaces.


In 2016 The Hypatia Trust donated £15,000 to get a team together to do the initial feasibility study. This seedcorn money was part of a bequest to the Trust from a supporter in the USA.

In November 2017 the team obtained a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £70,000 to complete the planning and development stages. Hypatia Trust, having spent a further £50,000, are now in the process with the joint partners of raising a further £400,000 to add to the projects final target of £1 million plus. 


When we successfully achieve this match funding goal, it will unlock a further £800,000 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to carry out the extensive building work and fund community activity programmes planned for when the building opens which will see it well into the future.


With further fundraising and additional grants, this total budget of £1 million plus will be achieved. 


"This is a really big project for a small town like Penzance,

and will provide benefits for years to come".


The Gardeners' House will provide educational and training opportunities and also house the Hypatia Natural History Collection   – a special collection and women’s archive of – books, papers and ephemera showing the engagement of women in recording the botanical, horticultural, photographic and artistic nature of the Cornish landscape. 

It will create a warm and engaging space for clients of the  Pengarth Day Centre  and a base for the volunteers of the  Friends Of Morrab Gardens whilst also benefiting the wider Penzance and Cornish communities and welcome botanical and horticultural national and international visitors.

What our supporters say.............

Amended South


“This purpose-built space for the gardeners and volunteers genuinely gives me hope and confidence in the future of the gardens.  The building is an integral part of the garden and needed saving.  This gives people the opportunity to find out more about the rare and varied plants we have here, and I am especially delighted to have indoor space for our teaching groups.”

Morrab Head Gardener - Joe Palmese 

‘This project a great leap forward for Penzance.  It is a most welcome investment in a moribund part of the Gardens, and it is a successful first step in what should become the pathway to a sustainable Morrab Gardens regeneration development.’

Penzance Mayor - Dick Cliffe 


“The Gardeners’ House will be a great asset to the Friends of Morrab Gardens  as it will provide a welcoming place for volunteers to change, keep their own tools and make a drink or snack.  I am sure improved facilities will encourage more members to volunteer to help in the gardens and encourage people to join The Friends.  Personally I am looking forward to having a dedicated space in which to keep all the files and papers associated with The Friends of Morrab Gardens.”

Former Chairman of the

Friends of Morrab Gardens - Rosie Hughes

“Sitting side by side, with the Gardeners’ House, we are looking forward to working together on joint projects.”

Sharon Mitchell, Manager Pengarth Day Centre

“This is great news and I am confident that this new community resource and learning centre will be of great benefit to the local community and visitors to the area.”

Cornwall Councillor for 

Penzance Central - Cornelius Olivier

“The Gardens are a gem in the very heart of Penzance,

and the Library, nestled within, is another. Not many

towns can boast such a pairing.For too long the gardens and the library have languished ‘moribund’. We need to leap up and down and wave flags and shout out about the wonderful things we have and do… learning and rest, beauty, archives, inspiration and peace, weighty academia and phatic chat, a place for nature, a place for friendship. Wonderful books and Tropical flowers.

The restoration and conversion of the gardener’s building will be the seminal event, the ’seed’, that builds a platform from which we can shout about ourselves and let everyone know where we are and the wonderful things within.”

Mark Penrose, Trustee Morrab Library


“I am extremely pleased that the funding has been granted for this project and look forward to seeing this important local asset being brought back into the heart of the community.”

Cornwall Council Portfolio Holder for Environment and Public Protection - Councillor Jon James


The Gardeners' House Project c/o The Hypatia Trust

Lower Groaund Floor,

The Regent.

54 Chapel Street,.

Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 4AE

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