What future for Beckford’s Tower?

Next time you take a stroll to the bottom of your garden spare a thought for wealthy 19th century Bath resident William Beckford.

The bottom of his garden involved a mile long ride – on horseback – to the top of a hill and – where maybe you have a garden shed – he built a 50-metre high folly.

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We know it today as Beckford’s Tower. It was designed by Henry Edmund Goodridge in 1825 and completed in 1827 for William Beckford (1760-1844), one of the nation’s most accomplished and interesting characters.

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William Beckford.

It’s now looked after – and opened at weekends as a museum – by Bath Preservation Trust.

With repairs now necessary – to stop water ingress – the Trust is preparing a Heritage Lottery Stage One application and busy consulting with as many local people as possible as to how they would like to see the Trust develop the site.

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I caught up with Dr Amy Frost while staff were holding a consultation in St Michael’s Without.

 

The 120-foot neo-classical Tower, which enjoys uninterrupted views of the countryside, was constructed as a study retreat and to house Beckford’s precious collection of art and rare books.

The surrounding Victorian Cemetery, containing William Beckford’s tomb, was in his lifetime part of a beautiful pleasure garden known as ‘Beckford’s Ride’, which ran from his house in Lansdown Crescent up to the Tower at the top of Lansdown Hill.

The Tower is now home to a museum collection displaying furniture originally made for the Tower, alongside paintings, prints and objects illustrating William Beckford’s life as a writer, collector and patron of the arts.

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Visitors can follow in Beckford’s footsteps and climb the spiral staircase to the beautifully restored Belvedere and experience the spectacular panoramic view of Bath.

The Tower is an extraordinary building that stands today as the only surviving example of William Beckford’s great architectural achievements.

Those contact details again – if you want to have your day – tower@bptrust.org.uk or call Courtney Fleming on 01225/460705.

Opening Times for Beckford’s Tower

Saturday 3 March – Sunday 28 October 2018
Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays: 10:30am – 5pm (last entry 4:30pm)

Admission Prices

Adults: £4.50
Concessions: (seniors, students, disabled): £3.80  (carers free)
Children aged 0-5:  FREE
Children aged 6-16:  £2.20
Family ticket: £11.20

Group bookings: £3.80 per person
School Groups: £3.80  (adults free)

Weekday/out of hours opening fee applies for groups.
Discovery card holders 50% off the full admission price.

Unfortunately, they are currently unable to accept card payments on site.