Thursday, 12 April 2012

View of Lancaster Folly

I took this photograph from the grounds of Lancaster Priory. In the distance you can see the domed building is the Ashton Memorial, one of England's greatest follies.

The Ashton Memorial is a folly in Williamson Park, Lancaster, England built between 1907 and 1909 by millionaire industrialist Baron Ashton in memory of his second wife, Jessy, at a cost of over £80,000 (£4,588,000 in today's money). At around 150 feet tall, it dominates the Lancaster skyline and is visible for many miles around. It also offers spectacular views of the surrounding area including Morecambe Bay. The building is in the Edwardian Baroque style and was designed by John Belcher. It has been described as "England's grandest folly" and the "Taj Mahal of the North" but simply as "The Structure" by local people. The dome is externally of copper, the main stone used is Portland stone although the steps are of hard wearing granite from Cornwall. Externally around the dome are sculptures representing "Commerce", "Science", "Industry" and "Art" by Herbert Hampton. The interior of the dome has allegorical paintings of "Commerce", "Art" and "History" by George Murray. The floor is of white, black and red marbles.
Today, the memorial serves as an exhibition space on the upper floor and a venue for concerts and weddings.
Damaged by fire in 1962, in 1981 the memorial was closed for safety reasons, to be reopened after being restored during 1985-7

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