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Oh what a folly! Fancy staying in a Pineapple, the pigsty or maybe an Italianate train station?

Pineapple building

This is the Pineapple, of course it is.  What else could it be? It was built for the 4th Earl of Dunmore and the good news is that if you get yourselves over to Scotland, you can stay there. It is one of the buildings managed by the British charity, The Landmark Trust , an organisation dedicated to rescuing interesting and historic buildings, renovating them and, we are very pleased to say, making them available as holiday lets.

Their web site details all the buildings they have available along with prices, sleeping capacity and other such vital details. Their catalogue is a splendidly illustrated work, a copy of which was last spotted in the Modenus washroom. Not a great idea to boost productivity.

So what do we know about the Pineapple, other than it sleeps four? According to the Trust, it probably began as a pavilion of one story, dated 1761, and only grew its fruity dome after 1777, when Lord Dunmore was brought back, forcibly, from serving as Governor of Virginia. There, sailors would put a pineapple on the gatepost to announce their return home. Lord Dunmore, who was fond of a joke, announced his return more prominently.

And if you were wondering what the inside of a pineapple might be like to sleep in , click continue.

Inside Pineapple buildingLet us reassure you. It is very, comfortable and rather romantic.

pigsty folly

And we did mention a pigsty. Not a teenagers bedroom in this case but an exercise in primitive classicism, supposedly inspired by buildings seen by Squire Barry of Fyling Hall on his travels around the Mediterranean in the 1880s. The Trust’s highly informative catalogue suggests that by his use of timber columns, and his choice of inhabitants, he was perhaps trying to make a point about the roots of Classical architecture; or it may just have been that, as in the song, ‘there was a lady loved a swine’. In Walter Crane’s illustration for this song (from The Baby’s Opera, published in 1877), the sty is given a Classical front, which might have been the starting point for Barry’s eclectic inspiration.

The pigs’ keepers lived in a pair of nearby cottages built close enough to keep an eye on their porcine charges and also architecturally embellished.

The inside of the Pigsty is best described as cosy and the Trust acknowledges that it may not be totally draft free but the view is expansive, dramatic and worth the trip alone.

view from pigsty folly

That’s Robin Hood Bay in North Yorkshire in the distance. We’re not going to try to describe it. More views on their way.

Italianate railway station in Staffordshire

Sadly, the trains don’t stop here anymore. There isn’t even a railway. But then a functioning railway would probably be less than ideal if you chose to stay in the only Italianate railway station in Staffordshire. Its architect was probably H.A. Hunt, an architect-engineer who designed other stations on this line, which opened in 1849. Built by the North Staffordshire Railway (the ‘Knotty’) to a befitting standard for the Earl of Shrewsbury.

Inside Italianate railway station in Staffordshire

You can now cook in a small private waiting room, the main waiting room being reserved for a suitably long table around which to while away your time in front of a fire, amid remnants of former days of railway glory. A double bedroom has been made in the ticket office, while the rest of your party sleep in the stationmaster’s house.

Luttrell's Tower in Eaglehurst

We promised you more views. How’s this? Luttrell’s Tower in Eaglehurst, Hampshire on the English South coast was built for  for Temple Luttrell, a Member of the British Parliament ,but reputedly also a smuggler, who died in Paris in 1803. His brother-in law, Lord Cavan, who commanded the British forces in Egypt from 1801, was the next owner and brought with him the two mysterious feet on a plinth of Nubian granite, now at the tower and thought to be the base of a XIXth dynasty statue of Rameses II.

Thereafter the tower passed through various hands; Queen Victoria nearly bought it (with Eaglehurst House) instead of Osborne, and Marconi used it for his wireless experiments of 1912. Sir Clough Williams-Ellis designed the double staircase that gives access to it from the beach.

All the rooms have handsome chimney pieces and the top room has fine plaster and shell work as well. There is also a tunnel from the basement to the beach, made perhaps for the smuggling Member. Just in case you thought otherwise, all credit to the Landmark Trust for all this information which we have cheerfully lifted from their splendid website. Please do visit it.

Luttrell's Tower in Eaglehurst

This is an exceptionally fine Georgian folly, possibly the only surviving work of Thomas Sandby, first Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy. It stands on the shore of the Solent looking towards Cowes. The view, particularly of ships entering and leaving Southampton by the deep water channel, is magnificent – as, in a very different way, is the sight, from its top, of the Fawley refinery and power station.

The Landmark Trust offers over 180 follies, castles, towers, banqueting houses and cottages to stay in throughout Britain, in Italy and a few in France. Or, of course, you could always book a couple of rooms in a boring hotel. But why would you do that?


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