How many times have you driven up/down the M6 near Lancaster and thought what is that dome shaped building? Looking like a bit of St Paul’s cathedral has drifted north.
So I went to find out. The building is called Ashton memorial, a beautifully stunning building in Williamson park in Lancaster. The Ashton Memorial was commissioned by Lord Ashton as a tribute to his late wife. It was designed by John Belcher and completed in 1909. It cost £80,ooo. It was damaged by fire in 1962, in 1981 the memorial was closed for safety reasons, it then reopened after being restored during 1985-87. Today it hosts exhibitions, concerts and can be hired for private functions, including weddings.
At around 150 feet tall, it dominates the Lancaster skyline. It has been described as “England’s grandest folly” and the “Taj Mahal of the North”. The dome is externally made of copper, the main stone used is Portland stone although the steps are of hard wearing granite from Cornwall.
As you walk up through the park, the first glimpse you get of the memorial is breathtaking.