A Tale of Two Scottish Castles

Culzean This isn't really a blog about two castles as such; it's more about what gets preserved for future generations and what is lost. A couple of months ago I was in Scotland for a few days and I went to two completely contrasting castles. The first was Culzean (pronounced, as I discovered, Cullaine) which is the National Trust for Scotland's flagship property. There are records of a tower house at Culzean going back to the 1400s which was extended and improved in the 1590s by Sir Thomas Kennedy, brother to the 4th Earl of Cassillis. The current grand house was created by Robert Adam in the 18th century when the Kennedy family wanted to create a "trophy house," a mansion that shouted their wealth and power to anyone who saw it. Robert Adam was the leading Scottish architect of his day and he was given free rein at Culzean. The results are stunning in terms of their scale and beauty. I loved the oval staircase and the round drawing room in particular, and could happily have sat in the drawing room windows all day looking at the view out across the sea.

Culzean drawing room Culzean has a guide book packed with detail on the history and architecture of the castle, it has beautifully restored gardens, several restaurants, a second hand bookshop, smugglers caves and information about various paranormal investigations that took place at the castle. It has a comprehensive website at http://www.culzeanexperience.org/default.asp You can even adopt a Culzean deer. I had a wonderful day visiting there and I was one of 200 000 visitors who go every year.

Johnstone castle in its prime In contrast I spent roughly one hour at Johnstone Castle, which is near Glasgow. Originally dating back to the 16th century, Johnstone Castle was in its heyday in the Victorian era. Frederick Chopin was a guest of the Houston family of Johnstone in 1848 whilst performing in concert in Glasgow. Chopin had tutored the wife of the 5th Laird of Johnstone in piano and there were rumours of a romance between him and the laird's sister-in-law, to whom he dedicated some of his compositions. There is a story that the composer's music can be heard floating over the nearby woods on moonlit Spetember evenings. This was the only claim to fame that I could find for Johnstone Castle and I discovered it after hunting around on the internet looking for the castle's history.

Johnstone Castle 2 My first problem in going to Johnstone Castle was actually finding it. I drove through a housing estate and eventually ended up at a patch of grass with a tower in the middle. The building was fenced off so I couldn't get close and there weren't any plaques or information boards apart from one notice stating that no ball games should be played! I crossed the road to the woods which are all that is left of the original gardens and pleasure grounds. After the Second World War the Castle and grounds had been purchased by the Town Council, which had demolished most of it and had used the land to build new housing for families moved out of Glasgow as a result of tenement clearances. As somoene who likes to explore every nook and cranny of ancient buildings as well as read up on their history, I was disappointed. I wanted to be able to touch Johnstone Castle and to feel the atmosphere, not simply stand on the outside looking in.

The contrast of Culzean and Johnstone Castles led me to wonder about the twists of fate that led Culzean to be one of the most popular castles in Scotland whilst what is left of Johnstone Castle is fenced off in the middle of a housing estate. Who decides what should be preserved and what let go? Do we have an obligation to preserve or even to restore ancient buildings if we can? And should I have been happy that there was at least a tower of Johnstone Castle left standing?

65 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Scottish Castles”

  1. A very thought-provoking post, Nicola. I share your sentiments in wishing to touch and see every little detail of a historic place. For me, the past is a treasure.
    Plenty of people will point to other priorities—like dealing with hunger, poverty, disease, etc—that need funding. And of course one can’t argue. But that said,I feel strongly that the heritage of our civilization is extremely important to preserve for future generations. It’s part of who we are. It’s wishful thinking, I know, but if only governments could tighten up on wasteful spending and fund the things that really matter—the arts and culture included!

    Reply
  2. A very thought-provoking post, Nicola. I share your sentiments in wishing to touch and see every little detail of a historic place. For me, the past is a treasure.
    Plenty of people will point to other priorities—like dealing with hunger, poverty, disease, etc—that need funding. And of course one can’t argue. But that said,I feel strongly that the heritage of our civilization is extremely important to preserve for future generations. It’s part of who we are. It’s wishful thinking, I know, but if only governments could tighten up on wasteful spending and fund the things that really matter—the arts and culture included!

    Reply
  3. A very thought-provoking post, Nicola. I share your sentiments in wishing to touch and see every little detail of a historic place. For me, the past is a treasure.
    Plenty of people will point to other priorities—like dealing with hunger, poverty, disease, etc—that need funding. And of course one can’t argue. But that said,I feel strongly that the heritage of our civilization is extremely important to preserve for future generations. It’s part of who we are. It’s wishful thinking, I know, but if only governments could tighten up on wasteful spending and fund the things that really matter—the arts and culture included!

    Reply
  4. A very thought-provoking post, Nicola. I share your sentiments in wishing to touch and see every little detail of a historic place. For me, the past is a treasure.
    Plenty of people will point to other priorities—like dealing with hunger, poverty, disease, etc—that need funding. And of course one can’t argue. But that said,I feel strongly that the heritage of our civilization is extremely important to preserve for future generations. It’s part of who we are. It’s wishful thinking, I know, but if only governments could tighten up on wasteful spending and fund the things that really matter—the arts and culture included!

    Reply
  5. A very thought-provoking post, Nicola. I share your sentiments in wishing to touch and see every little detail of a historic place. For me, the past is a treasure.
    Plenty of people will point to other priorities—like dealing with hunger, poverty, disease, etc—that need funding. And of course one can’t argue. But that said,I feel strongly that the heritage of our civilization is extremely important to preserve for future generations. It’s part of who we are. It’s wishful thinking, I know, but if only governments could tighten up on wasteful spending and fund the things that really matter—the arts and culture included!

    Reply
  6. Living in St Louis, I have become jaded about the constant demolition of historic architecture. We don’t have the UK’s history, but we do have a history dating back to the early 1700s, a rich history as a crossroads to the American West. We have some of the most stunning architecture in the country, mansions, warehouses, and commercial structures that are now bordered up and sad, waiting for the wrecking ball. Do you think future generations will miss the history?

    Reply
  7. Living in St Louis, I have become jaded about the constant demolition of historic architecture. We don’t have the UK’s history, but we do have a history dating back to the early 1700s, a rich history as a crossroads to the American West. We have some of the most stunning architecture in the country, mansions, warehouses, and commercial structures that are now bordered up and sad, waiting for the wrecking ball. Do you think future generations will miss the history?

    Reply
  8. Living in St Louis, I have become jaded about the constant demolition of historic architecture. We don’t have the UK’s history, but we do have a history dating back to the early 1700s, a rich history as a crossroads to the American West. We have some of the most stunning architecture in the country, mansions, warehouses, and commercial structures that are now bordered up and sad, waiting for the wrecking ball. Do you think future generations will miss the history?

    Reply
  9. Living in St Louis, I have become jaded about the constant demolition of historic architecture. We don’t have the UK’s history, but we do have a history dating back to the early 1700s, a rich history as a crossroads to the American West. We have some of the most stunning architecture in the country, mansions, warehouses, and commercial structures that are now bordered up and sad, waiting for the wrecking ball. Do you think future generations will miss the history?

    Reply
  10. Living in St Louis, I have become jaded about the constant demolition of historic architecture. We don’t have the UK’s history, but we do have a history dating back to the early 1700s, a rich history as a crossroads to the American West. We have some of the most stunning architecture in the country, mansions, warehouses, and commercial structures that are now bordered up and sad, waiting for the wrecking ball. Do you think future generations will miss the history?

    Reply
  11. Sherrie, here. I think it is vitally important to preserve historic buildings. Besides the purely aesthetic and sentimental reasons, they provide a tangible connection to our past. This is obviously important to many, judging by the hordes of tourists who visit preserved castles, mansions, historic battlefields, etc.
    Personally, these old places also give me a deep appreciation for the modern conveniences. It is so fascinating to realize our ancestors not only lived without these conveniences, but actually prospered.
    I live in an ancient farmhouse that started life as a very long chicken house. For whatever reason, it was never occupied by chickens, and 2 years after it was built, they put it on skids and pushed it to its present location from “the back 40.”
    They turned it into a dance hall in the 1930s, and rumor has it that illegal whiskey flowed freely here during prohibition. After tenure as a dance hall and speakeasy, it became a family home in the 1940s. They added onto it, changing the shape from a long, rectangular rambler to an L-shaped home with a daylight basement. You would love the house, Nicola, as there are numerous nooks and crannies to explore.
    If you set a marble on the floor in the hall, it will roll into the laundry room. When the washing machine overflowed recently (this is My Year of Appliance Failure), mopping up was a cinch because all that water took the path of least resistance and flowed merrily “downhill” and out the door, onto the porch!
    I love the efficiency of new homes, but an old home seems to have much more character by comparison. If I were living in England, I would spend as much time as possible visiting historic buildings. As a writer, the value of these old places cannot be denied. It’s one thing to read a description of a castle in a research book. It’s another thing entirely to be able to experience a castle first-hand.

    Reply
  12. Sherrie, here. I think it is vitally important to preserve historic buildings. Besides the purely aesthetic and sentimental reasons, they provide a tangible connection to our past. This is obviously important to many, judging by the hordes of tourists who visit preserved castles, mansions, historic battlefields, etc.
    Personally, these old places also give me a deep appreciation for the modern conveniences. It is so fascinating to realize our ancestors not only lived without these conveniences, but actually prospered.
    I live in an ancient farmhouse that started life as a very long chicken house. For whatever reason, it was never occupied by chickens, and 2 years after it was built, they put it on skids and pushed it to its present location from “the back 40.”
    They turned it into a dance hall in the 1930s, and rumor has it that illegal whiskey flowed freely here during prohibition. After tenure as a dance hall and speakeasy, it became a family home in the 1940s. They added onto it, changing the shape from a long, rectangular rambler to an L-shaped home with a daylight basement. You would love the house, Nicola, as there are numerous nooks and crannies to explore.
    If you set a marble on the floor in the hall, it will roll into the laundry room. When the washing machine overflowed recently (this is My Year of Appliance Failure), mopping up was a cinch because all that water took the path of least resistance and flowed merrily “downhill” and out the door, onto the porch!
    I love the efficiency of new homes, but an old home seems to have much more character by comparison. If I were living in England, I would spend as much time as possible visiting historic buildings. As a writer, the value of these old places cannot be denied. It’s one thing to read a description of a castle in a research book. It’s another thing entirely to be able to experience a castle first-hand.

    Reply
  13. Sherrie, here. I think it is vitally important to preserve historic buildings. Besides the purely aesthetic and sentimental reasons, they provide a tangible connection to our past. This is obviously important to many, judging by the hordes of tourists who visit preserved castles, mansions, historic battlefields, etc.
    Personally, these old places also give me a deep appreciation for the modern conveniences. It is so fascinating to realize our ancestors not only lived without these conveniences, but actually prospered.
    I live in an ancient farmhouse that started life as a very long chicken house. For whatever reason, it was never occupied by chickens, and 2 years after it was built, they put it on skids and pushed it to its present location from “the back 40.”
    They turned it into a dance hall in the 1930s, and rumor has it that illegal whiskey flowed freely here during prohibition. After tenure as a dance hall and speakeasy, it became a family home in the 1940s. They added onto it, changing the shape from a long, rectangular rambler to an L-shaped home with a daylight basement. You would love the house, Nicola, as there are numerous nooks and crannies to explore.
    If you set a marble on the floor in the hall, it will roll into the laundry room. When the washing machine overflowed recently (this is My Year of Appliance Failure), mopping up was a cinch because all that water took the path of least resistance and flowed merrily “downhill” and out the door, onto the porch!
    I love the efficiency of new homes, but an old home seems to have much more character by comparison. If I were living in England, I would spend as much time as possible visiting historic buildings. As a writer, the value of these old places cannot be denied. It’s one thing to read a description of a castle in a research book. It’s another thing entirely to be able to experience a castle first-hand.

    Reply
  14. Sherrie, here. I think it is vitally important to preserve historic buildings. Besides the purely aesthetic and sentimental reasons, they provide a tangible connection to our past. This is obviously important to many, judging by the hordes of tourists who visit preserved castles, mansions, historic battlefields, etc.
    Personally, these old places also give me a deep appreciation for the modern conveniences. It is so fascinating to realize our ancestors not only lived without these conveniences, but actually prospered.
    I live in an ancient farmhouse that started life as a very long chicken house. For whatever reason, it was never occupied by chickens, and 2 years after it was built, they put it on skids and pushed it to its present location from “the back 40.”
    They turned it into a dance hall in the 1930s, and rumor has it that illegal whiskey flowed freely here during prohibition. After tenure as a dance hall and speakeasy, it became a family home in the 1940s. They added onto it, changing the shape from a long, rectangular rambler to an L-shaped home with a daylight basement. You would love the house, Nicola, as there are numerous nooks and crannies to explore.
    If you set a marble on the floor in the hall, it will roll into the laundry room. When the washing machine overflowed recently (this is My Year of Appliance Failure), mopping up was a cinch because all that water took the path of least resistance and flowed merrily “downhill” and out the door, onto the porch!
    I love the efficiency of new homes, but an old home seems to have much more character by comparison. If I were living in England, I would spend as much time as possible visiting historic buildings. As a writer, the value of these old places cannot be denied. It’s one thing to read a description of a castle in a research book. It’s another thing entirely to be able to experience a castle first-hand.

    Reply
  15. Sherrie, here. I think it is vitally important to preserve historic buildings. Besides the purely aesthetic and sentimental reasons, they provide a tangible connection to our past. This is obviously important to many, judging by the hordes of tourists who visit preserved castles, mansions, historic battlefields, etc.
    Personally, these old places also give me a deep appreciation for the modern conveniences. It is so fascinating to realize our ancestors not only lived without these conveniences, but actually prospered.
    I live in an ancient farmhouse that started life as a very long chicken house. For whatever reason, it was never occupied by chickens, and 2 years after it was built, they put it on skids and pushed it to its present location from “the back 40.”
    They turned it into a dance hall in the 1930s, and rumor has it that illegal whiskey flowed freely here during prohibition. After tenure as a dance hall and speakeasy, it became a family home in the 1940s. They added onto it, changing the shape from a long, rectangular rambler to an L-shaped home with a daylight basement. You would love the house, Nicola, as there are numerous nooks and crannies to explore.
    If you set a marble on the floor in the hall, it will roll into the laundry room. When the washing machine overflowed recently (this is My Year of Appliance Failure), mopping up was a cinch because all that water took the path of least resistance and flowed merrily “downhill” and out the door, onto the porch!
    I love the efficiency of new homes, but an old home seems to have much more character by comparison. If I were living in England, I would spend as much time as possible visiting historic buildings. As a writer, the value of these old places cannot be denied. It’s one thing to read a description of a castle in a research book. It’s another thing entirely to be able to experience a castle first-hand.

    Reply
  16. Andrea, I agree that there are a lot of conflicting demands on funding and so often arts and culture gets pushed down the list. I can see how, in the case of Johnstone Castle, there was an urgent need for new housing and so that estate looked like a prime place to build. It felt so incongruous with a 16th century tower surrounded by 1950s housing, but I think that what bothered me more was the fact that it was inaccessible. Perhaps if the council had made an effort to preserve more of the castle, make it accessible, and had built in a complementary style then it wouldn’t feel so odd and dislocated. But I suspect they simply couldn’t afford to repair it. I know that the only reason that Ashdown House was saved from demolition, for example, was because the first National Trust tenant was a Greek shipping billionaire who restored the interior with his own money!

    Reply
  17. Andrea, I agree that there are a lot of conflicting demands on funding and so often arts and culture gets pushed down the list. I can see how, in the case of Johnstone Castle, there was an urgent need for new housing and so that estate looked like a prime place to build. It felt so incongruous with a 16th century tower surrounded by 1950s housing, but I think that what bothered me more was the fact that it was inaccessible. Perhaps if the council had made an effort to preserve more of the castle, make it accessible, and had built in a complementary style then it wouldn’t feel so odd and dislocated. But I suspect they simply couldn’t afford to repair it. I know that the only reason that Ashdown House was saved from demolition, for example, was because the first National Trust tenant was a Greek shipping billionaire who restored the interior with his own money!

    Reply
  18. Andrea, I agree that there are a lot of conflicting demands on funding and so often arts and culture gets pushed down the list. I can see how, in the case of Johnstone Castle, there was an urgent need for new housing and so that estate looked like a prime place to build. It felt so incongruous with a 16th century tower surrounded by 1950s housing, but I think that what bothered me more was the fact that it was inaccessible. Perhaps if the council had made an effort to preserve more of the castle, make it accessible, and had built in a complementary style then it wouldn’t feel so odd and dislocated. But I suspect they simply couldn’t afford to repair it. I know that the only reason that Ashdown House was saved from demolition, for example, was because the first National Trust tenant was a Greek shipping billionaire who restored the interior with his own money!

    Reply
  19. Andrea, I agree that there are a lot of conflicting demands on funding and so often arts and culture gets pushed down the list. I can see how, in the case of Johnstone Castle, there was an urgent need for new housing and so that estate looked like a prime place to build. It felt so incongruous with a 16th century tower surrounded by 1950s housing, but I think that what bothered me more was the fact that it was inaccessible. Perhaps if the council had made an effort to preserve more of the castle, make it accessible, and had built in a complementary style then it wouldn’t feel so odd and dislocated. But I suspect they simply couldn’t afford to repair it. I know that the only reason that Ashdown House was saved from demolition, for example, was because the first National Trust tenant was a Greek shipping billionaire who restored the interior with his own money!

    Reply
  20. Andrea, I agree that there are a lot of conflicting demands on funding and so often arts and culture gets pushed down the list. I can see how, in the case of Johnstone Castle, there was an urgent need for new housing and so that estate looked like a prime place to build. It felt so incongruous with a 16th century tower surrounded by 1950s housing, but I think that what bothered me more was the fact that it was inaccessible. Perhaps if the council had made an effort to preserve more of the castle, make it accessible, and had built in a complementary style then it wouldn’t feel so odd and dislocated. But I suspect they simply couldn’t afford to repair it. I know that the only reason that Ashdown House was saved from demolition, for example, was because the first National Trust tenant was a Greek shipping billionaire who restored the interior with his own money!

    Reply
  21. Pat, that is a tragedy about the demolition of so many old buildings with such a fascinating history. I am sure future generations will regret the loss.
    Sherrie, your house sounds to have had an amazingly varied history! I’d love to explore it! Over here a lot of people have taken old houses from the seventeenth and eighteenth century and completely gutted the inside so that the exterior still looks old but inside they are modern. I can see the point because I like my mod cons too, but what is left can be a very odd mixture. Our current house is Victorian and is one of the newer houses in our village. I still hanker after our 17th century cottage in Somerset complete with resident ghost of a cavalier!

    Reply
  22. Pat, that is a tragedy about the demolition of so many old buildings with such a fascinating history. I am sure future generations will regret the loss.
    Sherrie, your house sounds to have had an amazingly varied history! I’d love to explore it! Over here a lot of people have taken old houses from the seventeenth and eighteenth century and completely gutted the inside so that the exterior still looks old but inside they are modern. I can see the point because I like my mod cons too, but what is left can be a very odd mixture. Our current house is Victorian and is one of the newer houses in our village. I still hanker after our 17th century cottage in Somerset complete with resident ghost of a cavalier!

    Reply
  23. Pat, that is a tragedy about the demolition of so many old buildings with such a fascinating history. I am sure future generations will regret the loss.
    Sherrie, your house sounds to have had an amazingly varied history! I’d love to explore it! Over here a lot of people have taken old houses from the seventeenth and eighteenth century and completely gutted the inside so that the exterior still looks old but inside they are modern. I can see the point because I like my mod cons too, but what is left can be a very odd mixture. Our current house is Victorian and is one of the newer houses in our village. I still hanker after our 17th century cottage in Somerset complete with resident ghost of a cavalier!

    Reply
  24. Pat, that is a tragedy about the demolition of so many old buildings with such a fascinating history. I am sure future generations will regret the loss.
    Sherrie, your house sounds to have had an amazingly varied history! I’d love to explore it! Over here a lot of people have taken old houses from the seventeenth and eighteenth century and completely gutted the inside so that the exterior still looks old but inside they are modern. I can see the point because I like my mod cons too, but what is left can be a very odd mixture. Our current house is Victorian and is one of the newer houses in our village. I still hanker after our 17th century cottage in Somerset complete with resident ghost of a cavalier!

    Reply
  25. Pat, that is a tragedy about the demolition of so many old buildings with such a fascinating history. I am sure future generations will regret the loss.
    Sherrie, your house sounds to have had an amazingly varied history! I’d love to explore it! Over here a lot of people have taken old houses from the seventeenth and eighteenth century and completely gutted the inside so that the exterior still looks old but inside they are modern. I can see the point because I like my mod cons too, but what is left can be a very odd mixture. Our current house is Victorian and is one of the newer houses in our village. I still hanker after our 17th century cottage in Somerset complete with resident ghost of a cavalier!

    Reply
  26. There are a number of books that show lost buildings and what has replaced them. Almost invariably the new is ugly and one’s heart breaks for the beautiful older building that no longer exists.
    I remember reading a magazine article about a professor at (IIRC) Yale who lectured on the Gilded Age in America. As part of the class he showed slides of buildings created by popular architects of the times, including Sanford White’s Pennsylvania Station in New York, which was based on the Baths of Caracalla in Rome. The show ended with a slide of Penn Station’s demolition and the class in tears. The 1960s and 1970s have much to answer for in the way of destruction of so many beautiful places.

    Reply
  27. There are a number of books that show lost buildings and what has replaced them. Almost invariably the new is ugly and one’s heart breaks for the beautiful older building that no longer exists.
    I remember reading a magazine article about a professor at (IIRC) Yale who lectured on the Gilded Age in America. As part of the class he showed slides of buildings created by popular architects of the times, including Sanford White’s Pennsylvania Station in New York, which was based on the Baths of Caracalla in Rome. The show ended with a slide of Penn Station’s demolition and the class in tears. The 1960s and 1970s have much to answer for in the way of destruction of so many beautiful places.

    Reply
  28. There are a number of books that show lost buildings and what has replaced them. Almost invariably the new is ugly and one’s heart breaks for the beautiful older building that no longer exists.
    I remember reading a magazine article about a professor at (IIRC) Yale who lectured on the Gilded Age in America. As part of the class he showed slides of buildings created by popular architects of the times, including Sanford White’s Pennsylvania Station in New York, which was based on the Baths of Caracalla in Rome. The show ended with a slide of Penn Station’s demolition and the class in tears. The 1960s and 1970s have much to answer for in the way of destruction of so many beautiful places.

    Reply
  29. There are a number of books that show lost buildings and what has replaced them. Almost invariably the new is ugly and one’s heart breaks for the beautiful older building that no longer exists.
    I remember reading a magazine article about a professor at (IIRC) Yale who lectured on the Gilded Age in America. As part of the class he showed slides of buildings created by popular architects of the times, including Sanford White’s Pennsylvania Station in New York, which was based on the Baths of Caracalla in Rome. The show ended with a slide of Penn Station’s demolition and the class in tears. The 1960s and 1970s have much to answer for in the way of destruction of so many beautiful places.

    Reply
  30. There are a number of books that show lost buildings and what has replaced them. Almost invariably the new is ugly and one’s heart breaks for the beautiful older building that no longer exists.
    I remember reading a magazine article about a professor at (IIRC) Yale who lectured on the Gilded Age in America. As part of the class he showed slides of buildings created by popular architects of the times, including Sanford White’s Pennsylvania Station in New York, which was based on the Baths of Caracalla in Rome. The show ended with a slide of Penn Station’s demolition and the class in tears. The 1960s and 1970s have much to answer for in the way of destruction of so many beautiful places.

    Reply
  31. Nicola, I so envy your ready access to all of these wonderful castles and historic houses! Culzean sounds like a must. What a pity about Johnstone castle. Your experience reminds me of the time we visited a Gold Rush town in New Zealand and walked some distance from the visitors’ centre to the local jail. When we got there, tired and cranky (having chivvied the children along all the way) we found a sign that directed us back to the visitors’ centre for the key. Sigh. We did peek in the windows but it wasn’t quite the same.

    Reply
  32. Nicola, I so envy your ready access to all of these wonderful castles and historic houses! Culzean sounds like a must. What a pity about Johnstone castle. Your experience reminds me of the time we visited a Gold Rush town in New Zealand and walked some distance from the visitors’ centre to the local jail. When we got there, tired and cranky (having chivvied the children along all the way) we found a sign that directed us back to the visitors’ centre for the key. Sigh. We did peek in the windows but it wasn’t quite the same.

    Reply
  33. Nicola, I so envy your ready access to all of these wonderful castles and historic houses! Culzean sounds like a must. What a pity about Johnstone castle. Your experience reminds me of the time we visited a Gold Rush town in New Zealand and walked some distance from the visitors’ centre to the local jail. When we got there, tired and cranky (having chivvied the children along all the way) we found a sign that directed us back to the visitors’ centre for the key. Sigh. We did peek in the windows but it wasn’t quite the same.

    Reply
  34. Nicola, I so envy your ready access to all of these wonderful castles and historic houses! Culzean sounds like a must. What a pity about Johnstone castle. Your experience reminds me of the time we visited a Gold Rush town in New Zealand and walked some distance from the visitors’ centre to the local jail. When we got there, tired and cranky (having chivvied the children along all the way) we found a sign that directed us back to the visitors’ centre for the key. Sigh. We did peek in the windows but it wasn’t quite the same.

    Reply
  35. Nicola, I so envy your ready access to all of these wonderful castles and historic houses! Culzean sounds like a must. What a pity about Johnstone castle. Your experience reminds me of the time we visited a Gold Rush town in New Zealand and walked some distance from the visitors’ centre to the local jail. When we got there, tired and cranky (having chivvied the children along all the way) we found a sign that directed us back to the visitors’ centre for the key. Sigh. We did peek in the windows but it wasn’t quite the same.

    Reply
  36. Oh Christine, how infuriating! Why on earth didn’t they tell you? I do feel cheated if I go all the way to see something and then I have to peek through the window like a child in a Dickens story!
    Susan, it’s interesting that a similar process sounds to have happened in the US in the 60s and 70s as did here with the demolition of many old buildings. One thing that I do enjoy is looking at old maps and books for pictures of buildings that have disappeared hundreds of years ago. There is an element of mystery about that for me which is very appealing. Again at Ashdown, the robbed out the stone from the Iron Age hillfort in order to build the Restoration house but because it happened in the 17th century I forgive them. Contrary, really!

    Reply
  37. Oh Christine, how infuriating! Why on earth didn’t they tell you? I do feel cheated if I go all the way to see something and then I have to peek through the window like a child in a Dickens story!
    Susan, it’s interesting that a similar process sounds to have happened in the US in the 60s and 70s as did here with the demolition of many old buildings. One thing that I do enjoy is looking at old maps and books for pictures of buildings that have disappeared hundreds of years ago. There is an element of mystery about that for me which is very appealing. Again at Ashdown, the robbed out the stone from the Iron Age hillfort in order to build the Restoration house but because it happened in the 17th century I forgive them. Contrary, really!

    Reply
  38. Oh Christine, how infuriating! Why on earth didn’t they tell you? I do feel cheated if I go all the way to see something and then I have to peek through the window like a child in a Dickens story!
    Susan, it’s interesting that a similar process sounds to have happened in the US in the 60s and 70s as did here with the demolition of many old buildings. One thing that I do enjoy is looking at old maps and books for pictures of buildings that have disappeared hundreds of years ago. There is an element of mystery about that for me which is very appealing. Again at Ashdown, the robbed out the stone from the Iron Age hillfort in order to build the Restoration house but because it happened in the 17th century I forgive them. Contrary, really!

    Reply
  39. Oh Christine, how infuriating! Why on earth didn’t they tell you? I do feel cheated if I go all the way to see something and then I have to peek through the window like a child in a Dickens story!
    Susan, it’s interesting that a similar process sounds to have happened in the US in the 60s and 70s as did here with the demolition of many old buildings. One thing that I do enjoy is looking at old maps and books for pictures of buildings that have disappeared hundreds of years ago. There is an element of mystery about that for me which is very appealing. Again at Ashdown, the robbed out the stone from the Iron Age hillfort in order to build the Restoration house but because it happened in the 17th century I forgive them. Contrary, really!

    Reply
  40. Oh Christine, how infuriating! Why on earth didn’t they tell you? I do feel cheated if I go all the way to see something and then I have to peek through the window like a child in a Dickens story!
    Susan, it’s interesting that a similar process sounds to have happened in the US in the 60s and 70s as did here with the demolition of many old buildings. One thing that I do enjoy is looking at old maps and books for pictures of buildings that have disappeared hundreds of years ago. There is an element of mystery about that for me which is very appealing. Again at Ashdown, the robbed out the stone from the Iron Age hillfort in order to build the Restoration house but because it happened in the 17th century I forgive them. Contrary, really!

    Reply
  41. Nicola
    I do wish I could visit these castles I think it is really sad that governments don’t keep these looking good and keep them cared for, there is so much history in the pasts of every country and we need to look after all that we can.
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  42. Nicola
    I do wish I could visit these castles I think it is really sad that governments don’t keep these looking good and keep them cared for, there is so much history in the pasts of every country and we need to look after all that we can.
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  43. Nicola
    I do wish I could visit these castles I think it is really sad that governments don’t keep these looking good and keep them cared for, there is so much history in the pasts of every country and we need to look after all that we can.
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  44. Nicola
    I do wish I could visit these castles I think it is really sad that governments don’t keep these looking good and keep them cared for, there is so much history in the pasts of every country and we need to look after all that we can.
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  45. Nicola
    I do wish I could visit these castles I think it is really sad that governments don’t keep these looking good and keep them cared for, there is so much history in the pasts of every country and we need to look after all that we can.
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  46. “I still hanker after our 17th century cottage in Somerset complete with resident ghost of a cavalier!”
    Ah, so you had a ghost in the house, too! According to the folks at the Washington State Paranormal Investigations & Research, so do I. They came out twice, and took all sorts of readings and measurements and such. Some of “my” ghosts even have names. Holly, a little girl. Opal, an old woman bent with osteoporosis. Thank goodness they’re friendly! *g*

    Reply
  47. “I still hanker after our 17th century cottage in Somerset complete with resident ghost of a cavalier!”
    Ah, so you had a ghost in the house, too! According to the folks at the Washington State Paranormal Investigations & Research, so do I. They came out twice, and took all sorts of readings and measurements and such. Some of “my” ghosts even have names. Holly, a little girl. Opal, an old woman bent with osteoporosis. Thank goodness they’re friendly! *g*

    Reply
  48. “I still hanker after our 17th century cottage in Somerset complete with resident ghost of a cavalier!”
    Ah, so you had a ghost in the house, too! According to the folks at the Washington State Paranormal Investigations & Research, so do I. They came out twice, and took all sorts of readings and measurements and such. Some of “my” ghosts even have names. Holly, a little girl. Opal, an old woman bent with osteoporosis. Thank goodness they’re friendly! *g*

    Reply
  49. “I still hanker after our 17th century cottage in Somerset complete with resident ghost of a cavalier!”
    Ah, so you had a ghost in the house, too! According to the folks at the Washington State Paranormal Investigations & Research, so do I. They came out twice, and took all sorts of readings and measurements and such. Some of “my” ghosts even have names. Holly, a little girl. Opal, an old woman bent with osteoporosis. Thank goodness they’re friendly! *g*

    Reply
  50. “I still hanker after our 17th century cottage in Somerset complete with resident ghost of a cavalier!”
    Ah, so you had a ghost in the house, too! According to the folks at the Washington State Paranormal Investigations & Research, so do I. They came out twice, and took all sorts of readings and measurements and such. Some of “my” ghosts even have names. Holly, a little girl. Opal, an old woman bent with osteoporosis. Thank goodness they’re friendly! *g*

    Reply
  51. Wow, Sherrie! How interesting. Do you ever see “your” ghosts or have much interaction with them?
    Our cavalier was friendly too and had a particular fascination with technology. He would turn the lights on and off and switch the CD player on!

    Reply
  52. Wow, Sherrie! How interesting. Do you ever see “your” ghosts or have much interaction with them?
    Our cavalier was friendly too and had a particular fascination with technology. He would turn the lights on and off and switch the CD player on!

    Reply
  53. Wow, Sherrie! How interesting. Do you ever see “your” ghosts or have much interaction with them?
    Our cavalier was friendly too and had a particular fascination with technology. He would turn the lights on and off and switch the CD player on!

    Reply
  54. Wow, Sherrie! How interesting. Do you ever see “your” ghosts or have much interaction with them?
    Our cavalier was friendly too and had a particular fascination with technology. He would turn the lights on and off and switch the CD player on!

    Reply
  55. Wow, Sherrie! How interesting. Do you ever see “your” ghosts or have much interaction with them?
    Our cavalier was friendly too and had a particular fascination with technology. He would turn the lights on and off and switch the CD player on!

    Reply
  56. Fascinating post, Nicola. It’s a sad thing, but accessibility and ease of viewing/exploring is a must for historic places to be popular. It was a very short-sighted council who blocked off Johnson Castle like that.
    Often I suspect it’s misplaced class consciousness — not wanting to preserve the places that belonged to the rich. But ordinary people lived in the great houses, too, and ordinary craftspeople built and furnished them, and often a great house would be the grandest project many of the local craftspeople would have worked on, so it’s devaluing their work to treat it so shabbily.

    Reply
  57. Fascinating post, Nicola. It’s a sad thing, but accessibility and ease of viewing/exploring is a must for historic places to be popular. It was a very short-sighted council who blocked off Johnson Castle like that.
    Often I suspect it’s misplaced class consciousness — not wanting to preserve the places that belonged to the rich. But ordinary people lived in the great houses, too, and ordinary craftspeople built and furnished them, and often a great house would be the grandest project many of the local craftspeople would have worked on, so it’s devaluing their work to treat it so shabbily.

    Reply
  58. Fascinating post, Nicola. It’s a sad thing, but accessibility and ease of viewing/exploring is a must for historic places to be popular. It was a very short-sighted council who blocked off Johnson Castle like that.
    Often I suspect it’s misplaced class consciousness — not wanting to preserve the places that belonged to the rich. But ordinary people lived in the great houses, too, and ordinary craftspeople built and furnished them, and often a great house would be the grandest project many of the local craftspeople would have worked on, so it’s devaluing their work to treat it so shabbily.

    Reply
  59. Fascinating post, Nicola. It’s a sad thing, but accessibility and ease of viewing/exploring is a must for historic places to be popular. It was a very short-sighted council who blocked off Johnson Castle like that.
    Often I suspect it’s misplaced class consciousness — not wanting to preserve the places that belonged to the rich. But ordinary people lived in the great houses, too, and ordinary craftspeople built and furnished them, and often a great house would be the grandest project many of the local craftspeople would have worked on, so it’s devaluing their work to treat it so shabbily.

    Reply
  60. Fascinating post, Nicola. It’s a sad thing, but accessibility and ease of viewing/exploring is a must for historic places to be popular. It was a very short-sighted council who blocked off Johnson Castle like that.
    Often I suspect it’s misplaced class consciousness — not wanting to preserve the places that belonged to the rich. But ordinary people lived in the great houses, too, and ordinary craftspeople built and furnished them, and often a great house would be the grandest project many of the local craftspeople would have worked on, so it’s devaluing their work to treat it so shabbily.

    Reply

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