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All photos taken at Lowther Castle, Near Penrith , Cumbria
Some of the history from the Lowther Castle website
The site of Lowther Castle has been occupied by the same family since 1150. Several different buildings have been and gone, the last of which was the castle itself. It was commissioned by William, 1st Earl of Lonsdale in 1806 and designed by the architect Robert Smirke. Smirke later became responsible for many great civic buildings in London including the British Museum. In its heyday, the castle was said to boast a room for every day of the year. There was a grand art collection and the house was a celebrated landmark of the north.
130 years after it was built however, the castle was abandoned. The ‘Yellow Earl’, the 5th Earl of Lonsdale had spent his way through a vast fortune and the castle was a luxury too far.
War-time requisition by an army tank regiment, then crippling death duties finally sealed the castle’s fate and in 1957, James Lonsdale, the 7th Earl removed the castle roof. Every chimney pot, every door handle, every fireplace was sold and Lowther Castle became an empty shell.
And from Visit Cumbria
In 2012, Lowther Castle & Gardens opened its gates to the public as a visitor attraction. The opening came as the culmination of many years of work, consultations, fund-raising, grounds clearance and detailed building restoration – for in 1953, the castle was de-roofed and its extensive gardens turned over firstly to commercial tree-planting and animal-rearing. Later they were abandoned entirely and Nature took over.