Archive for October, 2011


Jonathan Denby, owner of the Newby Bridge hotel in the English Lake District, has built a classical style folly in the grounds of his hotel. Here it is. It is intended for weddings and even has a secret wedding night bridal suite with  a hidden bed, which comes down from a wall; a secret door to a concealed bathroom and a TV which drops down from the ceiling. You can lie on the bed and look at the stars through the glass domed roof.

On his website


Jonathan describes how he was inspired  to build the folly by a Victorian gentleman, Alexander Brogden, the owner of Holme Island in Grange (also in the North West corner of England) who, when he had finished building the Furness railway, built a circular Temple of Vesta in his garden.

Jonathan explains: “ I came across a photo of the temple while I was doing some research on Grange in the Barrow Records Office and was immediately captivated by it. You get a good view of Holme Island from the Prospect Tower in my garden, and you can see that unfortunately it’s now a ruin. It’s also completely inaccessible on private land.

When I first saw the photo of the temple I thought how wonderful it would be to create something as beautiful. The idea stayed with me, and when I had the chance to buy the land behind the Newby Bridge Hotel, I thought that would be an ideal spot for it. The land, which had at one time been part of the ornamental gardens for Newby Bridge Mansion (as the hotel was formerly), had become completely overgrown, but it was in a commanding position overlooking both the lake and the hotel.

I was told that there was no possible chance of the National Park planners giving me permission to build a modern folly, but, with the thought that the Victorians wouldn’t have been daunted by such a detail, I drew up some plans and put them in. The doubters were wrong and the plans were passed, albeit with the unnecessarily sarcastic comment that it was “more Las Vegas than Lake District”.

It has taken several years, but the building is now finished. I think it’s rather lovely. I’ve called it The Rotunda. It isn’t a folly as such but has a practical, and of course commercial, purpose as a wedding chapel. A licence has been granted for couples to get married in the chapel, but they can also spend their wedding night there, as it can be magically transformed into a bridal suite.  Perhaps the planners did have a point after all when they mentioned Las Vegas.”

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Just put up for sale is a very modern prehistoric monument. Carhenge in Nebraska, according to a recent report by Reuters. In the shape of Stonehenge in England, this one is a tribute to the automobile.

Carhenge near Alliance in Western Nebraska contains 38 vintage automobiles and can be yours for just $300,000.

The Carhenge autos mimic the Stonehenge stones in size, dimension and northeast orientation to the sunrise. The attraction consists of 38 gray-painted autos in a 96-foot circle. Some are buried five feet deep, trunk end down. Some jut from the ground at odd angles. Nine vehicles welded atop some of the half-buried autos form the arches.

Vehicles include a 1943 Plymouth Savoy, 1945 Jeep Willys, 1956 Buick Roadmaster Deluxe, 1957 Cadillac Eldorado, 1965 Ford Thunderbird, 1971 Chevrolet Nova, and a 1976 American Motors Gremlin.

A 1962 Cadillac depicts the Stonehenge heel stone, which is outside the main entrance and leans inward toward the circle.

Carhenge was built by Jim Reinders in 1987 as a tribute to his late father, who farmed the site two miles north of Alliance, a city of 8,600 people on the western Nebraska plains.

Reinders worked in England for a time and visited Stonehenge. More than 80,000 tourists from around the world have visited the site annually. It is a stop for tour buses and some visitors come before dawn to experience the sunrise. Admission to the 10-acre grounds is free.



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