architecture, belvedere, eyecatcher, Folly, garden, landscape, London, public park, Tower

Severndroog Castle, Shooter’s Hill, London

Photo courtesy of the Severndroog Castle Preservation Trust.

If there’s one thing you can guarantee about 18th century towers, it is that they will be described using words and phrases that were just as fashionable as the buildings themselves. A tower will always be ‘lofty’ and it will almost certainly ‘command rich and extensive views’. Severndroog Castle was built in 1784 and early descriptions follow this unwritten rule. The panorama today is even richer than it was when the tower was built, with two centuries of London development on show.

architecture, Folly, garden, landscape, public park, South Yorkshire, Tower

Locke Park Tower, Barnsley, South Yorkshire

Joseph Locke was a railway pioneer. Barnsley born, he achieved great wealth, but business and a career in politics took him away from his native Yorkshire. He remained hugely popular in Barnsley and never forgot the town of his birth, which benefitted ‘to a large extent in his liberality’. There was great sadness when his death was announced in September 1860, aged only 55.

The following year Locke’s widow, Phoebe, announced that she intended to create a ‘recreation ground’ for the people of Barnsley as a ‘mark of regard and affection for her late husband’, and 17 acres of land were bought from the estate of the Duke of Leeds. The Chairman of the Board of Health declared himself  ‘exceedingly well pleased with the plans for laying out the ground’, and the local newspaper reported that it was a ‘most munificent gift, and would prove … a pleasure to the inhabitants.’