||Alton Towers Resort, Merlin Entertainments Group
Comprehensive conservation repairs and reinstatement of the ‘Gothic’ Prospect Tower to address the current structural defects and outstanding maintenance, and also to restore the former heritage value of the original design intention.
Owned by Merlin Entertainments as part of the Alton Towers Resort, the Prospect Tower is Grade II* Listed and dates from circa 1824, one of 29 Listed structures within the Grade I Registered Gardens. Being one of only three gardens within Staffordshire with a Grade I Listing is indicative of the importance of the gardens at Alton Towers Resort as a unique piece of 19th-century designed landscape.
Originally it was believed to have been elaborately painted, firstly in a stone colour then in a deep ‘Pugin Red’ with its decorative features picked-out in gold leaf gilding. After 1940 the Gothic decorative cast iron railings to the first and second floor balconies were removed, presumably for the war effort, and over time the corrosion of the cast iron domed roof structure necessitated the need for the removal of the decorative carved stone ‘cusped and crocketted’ ogee (an S-shaped curve in profile) roof canopy hoods.
The conservation restorations are sensitive to the unique historic fabric and character this nationally important heritage asset. Any modern paint finishes were removed, the original gold leaf restoration was restored and the inside and outside of the tower fully re-decorated. The timber doors and windows have been replaced along with the renewal of the lead work and repair of the ground floor paved area. Finally, the cast iron, decorative balcony railings on the first and second floors of the tower have been reinstated.
The repairs together with a programme of future maintenance will help to conserve, secure and enhance the Gothic Prospect Tower’s significance for future generations to come.