the golden gates

The Golden Gates were made in Berlin in 1870 for Greenock born sugar refiner, philanthropist and art collector James Duncan. They were exhibited at the Paris World Fair of 1878 and then installed as the main entrance from Glen Massan to Benmore House in Argyll. The estate was sold to the brewing Younger family in 1890 and acquired by the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 1928 by which time the gates had been there for 50 years.

‘the golden gates’ project was a consultancy commission from RBGE to work in collaboration with Benmore Botanic Garden Curator Peter Baxter on the restoration of the Grade A listed gates. After substantial research including guidance from Historic Scotland, the gates that were already in protective storage were renovated locally by G H Currie Blacksmiths and Forgemasters. Once returned to Benmore they were re-gilded by John Nevin of Edinburgh and installed by the garden team at Benmore with Finlay Currie.