Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Destination Moon


Onto the fastnesses of the Isle of Thanet in Kent, after attempting to con fisherfolk and old salts into taking the Unmitigated Circus out to the Martian-like Maunsell forts nine miles off Whitstable. More at another time, when the Ashley Shilling has finally been taken. And so to Quex Park in Birchington, where the simply extraordinary Waterloo Tower sits out in the fields surrounded by dark yews. This has been on the Wanted List for some time, a red brick tower with four corner pavilions that suddenly sprout a cast-iron open weave spire balanced on the turrets. The Eiffel-like edifice is modelled on the 1799 Faversham church spire which adopted very similar buttresses in order to soften the blow should it fall into the town as a result of an explosion at the nearby gunpowder works. Built at the behest of John Powell Powell in 1819, the tower (constructed by the Quex Head Carpenter and Sandwich ironfounder William Mackney) contains a ring of twelve bells- surely one of the most unique places that bells are still rung in the country- and doubles-up as both a Battle of Waterloo commemoration and family mausoleum. My thanks to the good offices of the estate in sanctioning my intrusion, but acknowledgement for the blog title must given to Commentator Diplomat, who took one look at the photograph and gasped "Destination Moon" which, as any Tintin fan will recognise, sums it all up very nicely indeed.

22 comments:

Fred Fibonacci said...

Blistering barnacles!

Ten Inch Wheeler said...

What's that right at the top? An airship weathervane?

Philip Wilkinson said...

What a corker! That does look like an airship on top.

Are there any more of these Eiffel lookalikes in England? There's a rather good one on Petrin Hill, the eminence that overlooks central Prague.

Peter Ashley said...

Top knot is a golden cockerel.

Ron Combo said...

Marvellous stuff. PW - I don't know about any more Eiffels in Blighty but there used to be a baby Statue of Liberty on a hosiery factory roof in Leicester. Is it still there Ashers?

Philip Wilkinson said...

Oh and there's one in Tokyo, too, painted red and white. But that's quite enough of these far-flung places.

Jon Dudley said...

Set the controls for the heart of the sun!

Diplomat said...

be careful of that axe, Eugene

Jon Dudley said...

Touche (but with an accent)!

Fred Fibonacci said...

Don't worry. He'll see the bats soon enough.

Peter Ashley said...

Liberty Statue gone, Ron

A F-A said...

Fabulous find! The tower looks just like an airship mooring mast and I love the idea of R101 (or similar) floating there gently. But then, it might have turned out like the photo used for that Led Zeppelin LP cover!

Diplomat said...

Ring of twelve - Northamponshire X 3 - name them.

Ron Combo said...

Peterborough, Moulton, Kettering and Towcester

Diplomat said...

Peterborough ?????

Toby Savage said...

I once had a wife, who had a boss called Eugene. At one of those dreadfully dull evenings working people plan to give partners the thrill of meeting colleagues, I met him and gave him advise on being careful with his axe. It fell on stoney ground. I was never invited again.

Diplomat said...

In Mauvezin (Gers,) my son bought an axe for holiday tree felling and survival purposes, we decided to name the shop Eugene's in honour of the boys.

Peter Ashley said...

I must be slowly degenerating into illiteracy. What's with Eugene and axes? Sorry.

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