Monday, 26 November 2007

Creaking Oars

Old boathouses are wonderfully evocative places. Once alive to the sound of laughter as the picnic baskets of house guests were loaded into skiffs and rowing boats, many lie forgotten on the banks of lakes and rivers. I even remember finding one falling to pieces on a beach up on the west coast of the Isle of Arran at Dougarie, with a boat half-submerged in the water and sepia photographs of parties from the nearby big house still in broken frames on the wall.
This example is at Elvaston near Derby, quietly rotting away thanks to the vagaries of Derbyshire County Council who used the excuse of foot and mouth to point to falling visitor numbers in order to close the castle (designed by James Wyatt in 1812) and its museum, just so they could lease the whole estate to a private developer. How many times have we heard that one? The park is still open, and it's worth a trip off the M1 just to lap up the atmosphere and discover the 1860 Moorish temple hidden in the gardens. Ken Russell shot scenes for his memorable film Women in Love (1969) here, but if you want to find out who's shooting who now, take a look at http://www.friendsofelvaston.co.uk/

2 comments:

Diplomat said...

Spot on - like that a lot. What a thumping yew tree, maybe destined for the bulldozer along with the boathouse.

Diplomat said...

Blimey - just checked out the Friends Of - there's some venting going on there - read the bit about the agricultural equipment disposal sale - lordy what a shambles !