The Eden Project construction started with just £3,000 in the bank!
The idea of a large horticultural expo came to founder Tim Smit when he worked on the Lost Gardens of Heligan.
Smit said, “I’d always loved the thought of a lost civilisation in a volcanic crater, and when I saw the lunar landscape of the old Cornish clay pits, I realised they’d be the perfect site. However, we weren’t allowed to buy a crater. The companies that owned them would never declare them redundant because they’d then have to fill them in. We had to get the council to reassure them they wouldn’t be liable if they sold us one.”
Without any funding in place, or a site in mind, Smit held onto his belief that the idea of a lost world in a crater would appeal to anyone who’s ever been 12.
Smit continued “They thought the idea was bonkers, but it struck them as an adventure and they agreed to start work for nothing. Meanwhile, the construction firm McAlpine put some money into the project in return for a share of the profits. Everyone was now suddenly highly motivated.”
From this turning point the Eden Project went from ‘project’ to reality.