Lowther Castle to be partially restored

Lowther Castle, Cumbria (Image: dailymail.co.uk)

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]

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About Matthew Beckett - The Country Seat

An amateur architectural historian with a particular love of UK country houses in all their many varied and beautiful forms.
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One Response to Lowther Castle to be partially restored

  1. Andrew says:

    To keep up-to-date with its development, here is the official website of the Lowther Castle and Gardens Trust (established July 2008, it has a long lease at a peppercorn rent of the Castle and 130 acres from the Lowther Estate Trust, with Jim Lowther as a Trustee, being the 3rd of 4 sons of the late 7th Earl of Lonsdale, half-brother of Hugh the current 8th Earl, with Jim’s 10yo son currently in line to eventually inherit the Earldom):
    http://www.transforminglowther.co.uk

    The Lowther Castle page on the Lowther Estate website also has useful information:
    http://www.lowther.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=52&Itemid=124

    Project Status (at June 2010) –
    A joint application by LET and LC&GT for planning permission was granted in March 2010, in April 2010 the site was leased by the LET to the LC&GT on terms approved by the NWDA. English Heritage recently downgraded the castle’s ‘at risk’ status to priority B and it is also lifting the park and pleasure grounds to an across-the-board grade II* listing in recognition of LET’s remediation and restoration work. The design team have spent summer 2010 preparing tender documentation so that construction work can commence on the Castle and Stables at the beginning of 2011, with a ‘soft’ public opening of the gardens in summer 2011. The Stables Visitor Centre should open to the public in 2012/13, with the Castle ruins accessible in 2014.
    source – http://www.transforminglowther.co.uk/files/pdf/overview.pdf (page 20)

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