Coordinates: 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. The external stonework is hung on a steel frame as found in modern buildings and only forms a weatherproof covering without being loadbearing. In recent times this steelwork has caused problems for the conservation of the building. 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 marble.
Damaged by fire in 1962, in 1981 the memorial was closed for safety reasons, to be reopened after being restored during 1985-7.
The Ashton Memorial stands close to the mathematical centre point of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. See Centre points of the United Kingdom.
- page 412, The Buildings of England Lancashire: North, Clare Hartwell & Nikolaus Pevsner, 2009, Yale University Press
- currency converter at nationalarchives.gov.uk
- Sparks (2003), p 36.
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- The Ashton Memorial at the Williamson Park
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- Ashton Memorial Lancaster City Council
- Virtual tour at VRlancaster.
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