Alton Towers: Past & Present
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Alton Towers is known to millions as the picturesque backdrop to one of Europe's most popular theme parks. Yet the story of this great house has lain hidden in archive repositories and picture collections - until now.

Michael Fisher brings to life the amazing story of Alton Towers from its origin as a mere hunting lodge to its completion as the largest privately-owned house in Europe, crammed with costly furniture and works of art. Researched from original sources, the text is illustrated with nineteenth-century drawings and photographs of this 'Gothic Wonderland' created by the 15th and 16th Earls of Shrewsbury. A set of watercolours recording a tour of the house in 1870 is shown here for the first time.

A key figure in the completion of Alton Towers was the great architect and designer AWN Pugin, who worked for the 16th Earl from 1837 to 1852. The extraordinary relationship between earl and architect is explored through their correspondence; yet another original feature of this book which explores the achievements and limitations of Pugin as a domestic architect.

As the book shows, Alton Towers' history as a pleasure ground did not start in 1980, when then owner John Broome introduced the Corkscrew roller coaster. Even in the nineteenth century it was a considerable tourist attraction, and it has clearly been a popular place for family outings ever since. This book traces the development of the house, and its grounds, and is undoubtedly the most complete work written on this fascinating subject.


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