Ashton Memorial

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Ashton Memorial
Ashton Memorial, Lancaster.JPG
The Ashton Memorial at the top of Williamson Park
Ashton Memorial is located in Lancaster
Ashton Memorial
Location within Lancaster
General information
Type Folly
Architectural style Edwardian Baroque
Location Williamson Park
Town or city Lancaster, Lancashire
Country England
Coordinates 54°02′43″N 2°46′56″W / 54.04526°N 2.78227°W / 54.04526; -2.78227Coordinates: 54°02′43″N 2°46′56″W / 54.04526°N 2.78227°W / 54.04526; -2.78227
Construction started 1907
Completed 1909
Cost Over £80,000
Owner Lancaster City Council
Height About 150 ft (50 m)
Technical details
Material Portland stone
Design and construction
Architect John Belcher

The Ashton Memorial is a folly in Williamson Park, Lancaster, Lancashire, England built between 1907 and 1909 by millionaire industrialist Lord Ashton in memory of his second wife, Jessy, at a cost of over £80,000[1] (equivalent to £7.5 million in 2015).[2]


The Ashton Memorial's green dome.

At around 150 feet (50 m) 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".[3] 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.

Today, the memorial serves as an exhibition space on the upper floor and a venue for concerts and weddings.

Damaged by fire in 1962, in 1981 the memorial was closed for safety reasons, to be reopened after being restored during 1985-87.

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.


View from the observation deck

See also[edit]


  1. ^ page 412, The Buildings of England Lancashire: North, Clare Hartwell & Nikolaus Pevsner, 2009, Yale University Press
  2. ^ UK Consumer Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Gregory Clark (2016), "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)",
  3. ^ Sparks (2003), p 36.

External links[edit]