The Ashton Memorial at the top of Williamson Park
|Architectural style||Edwardian Baroque|
|Town or city||Lancaster, Lancashire|
|Owner||Lancaster City Council|
|Height||About 150 ft (50 m)|
|Design and construction|
The Ashton Memorial is a folly in Williamson Park, Lancaster, Lancashire, England built between 1907 and 1909 by the millionaire industrialist Lord Ashton in memory of his second wife, Jessy, at a cost of £87,000 (equivalent to £8.2 million in 2018).
At around 150 feet (50 m) tall, it dominates the Lancaster skyline and is visible for many miles around, and has 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". 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, who was also responsible for the design of the Queen Victoria Memorial, Lancaster commissioned by James Williamson, 1st Baron Ashton the previous year. 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 in 1988 by MP John Lees.
The Ashton Memorial stands coincidentally close to the mathematical centre point of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, excluding the Isle of Man. See Centre points of the United Kingdom.
The Ashton Memorial seen from Lancaster city centre, with the spire of Lancaster Cathedral
The Ashton Memorial on top of Williamson Park, 150 ft tall and completed in 1909
- page 412, The Buildings of England Lancashire: North, Clare Hartwell & Nikolaus Pevsner, 2009, Yale University Press
- UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
- Sparks (2003), p 36.
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