Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios have been working for the last four years to bring Lowther Castle and Gardens back from abandonment. The shell of the castle ruin is now saved from near collapse and made safe for visitors to explore; the 400 year-old ‘hidden’ gardens are revealed and the derelict stables transformed into a vibrant centre for visitors and the community.
Lowther Castle and over one hundred acres of listed 17th Century gardens opened to the public for the first time in May 2012. Abandoned in the 1930s and now romantically ruinous, the castle and gardens chart the extraordinary story of the Lowther family, Earls of Lonsdale, on the site which has been their home for over 800 years.
Community involvement and highly-skilled conservation craft have been critical drivers for this extraordinary project which has provided a focus for heritage skills and garden training. The design of contemporary interventions, which have been discreetly integrated into the historic fabric, has been informed by the original palette of materials and construction techniques found in the castle. The Stable Courtyard has been painstakingly repaired and refurbished to provide visitor facilities including a 100 seat café, museum gallery, shops and education facilities.
The Sculpture Gallery, and West Range housing the Lowther Gallery and access to the castle ruin interior opened late summer 2012 while the gardens project is conceived as a long-term undertaking, with the initial three-year project establishing the framework for gardening in future. The gardens will thrive through the support and enthusiasm of local people who are taking the lead in shaping Lowther for the new century.
Lowther Castle & Gardens, Penrith
Client: Lowther Castle & Gardens Trust
Construction value: £6,328,000
Completion: April 2013
•2012: Considerate Constructors Scheme Awards: National Site Award: Winner
“The combination of history, architecture and landscape makes Lowther one of the most exceptional places in England. The potential of the project to animate history and bring the castle and gardens back to life again, through the engagement of local communities and visitors is huge. The addition of a new and sensitive layer to the historic landscape will add further to Lowther’s ability to reassert in the 21st century its role at the heart of Cumbria’s economy, environment and society, which it has played for much of the last 700 years.”
Henry Owen John, English Heritage