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date: 20 October 2019

Alton Towerslocked

  • Brent Elliott

Extract

English house and garden in Staffordshire. The garden was first laid out between 1814 and 1827 by the owner, Charles Talbot, 15th Earl of Shrewsbury, with assistance from the landscape gardener John Buonarotti Papworth and the architect Robert Abraham (1774–1850); it was further improved by John Talbot, 16th Earl of Shrewsbury (see Talbot family §(3)). The major landscape feature at Alton Towers is the valley in the grounds, which Shrewsbury, Papworth and Abraham filled with an astonishing ‘labyrinth of terraces, curious architectural walls, trellis-work arbours, vases, statues, stairs, pavements … ornamental buildings, bridges, porticoes, temples, pagodas, gates, iron railings, parterres, jets, ponds, streams, seats, fountains, caves, flower baskets, waterfalls, rocks, cottages … rock-work, shell-work, root-work, moss houses, old trunks of trees [and] entire dead trees’ (Gdnrs Magazine, vii, 1831); in addition a fashionable Swiss-style cottage was built. Some of these works, in particular Abraham’s three-storey, cast-iron Pagoda Fountain, survive intact. In ...

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W. Papworth, ed.: Dictionary of Architecture, 8 vols (London, 1852–92)