architecture, Folly

Spike Milligan: ‘Follies of the Wise’

As the festive season approached in 1970, families would have pored over the special edition of the Radio Times to see what treats the three television channels could offer. If on New Year’s Eve had they walked across the room to warm up the set, and twiddled the knob to find BBC One, they would have seen a programme called Follies of the Wise presented by Spike Milligan. The writer, actor and comedian toured Britain looking at follies: ‘strange monuments to our ancestors and their passions’. It must have reached a good audience, broadcast at 6.45pm and sandwiched between Nationwide and The Andy Williams Show.

architecture, Art, Column, eyecatcher, Folly, garden history, Grotto, hermitage, Monument, Rustic shelter, sham castle

Follies and Pharmaceuticals: a Curious Concoction

Barbara Jones is best known to readers of these pages as the author of Follies & Grottoes (1953, revised 1974), the first book to consider the subject of garden and landscape buildings in any detail. She also wrote books about popular art, erotic postcards and furniture amongst other subjects, and as an illustrator and designer her work appeared in magazines, on calendars, dustjackets, greetings telegrams and much, much more.

architecture, country house, eyecatcher, Folly, Somerset

Jack the Treacle Eater, Barwick Park, Somerset

This unique structure, topped with a statue, stands close to Yeovil, in Somerset, one of a small group of curious constructions erected in Barwick Park. The folly was probably built by John Newman (1717-1799) in the middle of the 18th century, but by the early 20th century it had become know as ‘Jack the Treacle Eater’ and strange stories were told about Jack’s career and nocturnal activities.