Empty since 1942, Lowther Castle was used during WWII as a weapons research lab and the grounds as a practice ground for tanks who did their best to destroy the ornaments, fountains, paths and gardens. The house was not lived in again and in 1957 was unroofed and abandoned as a shell, leaving it as an ornament in the gardens of the 3,000-acre estate. The castle deteriorated over the passing decades until it was overgrown and the central tower was in danger of collapse and was featured in the 2008 Buildings at Risk register. However, this decay is about to be arrested and ambitious plans are afoot to partially restore the tower and invest in the gardens and park.
An application has been lodged to restore the gardens including the kilometre-long central avenue and create an indoor garden within the shell of the house once this has been stabilised. The work is expected to cost up to £9m but will attract 160,000 vistors a year to the attraction, generating £10m for the local economy.
Although the loss of the castle as a house is lamentable it’s encouraging to see that the shell and estate still have such value which will hopefully secure the future for this elegant building for future generations. Who knows, one day it may be possible for the Lowthers to restore the castle and move back in?
Full story: ‘Move to restore Lowther Castle could see gardens open in 2010‘ [The Cumberland News]