Browsing the Times Online, I came upon an article by Steve Keenan entitled “10 outrageous places to stay in Britain“. The first, video footage et al, is a Folly – not in the sense of “foolish” but rather “fun”. Although, as it turns out, staying there a few years ago may well have been extremely foolish… the Kimmeridge Tower (aka “Clavell`s Folly” or “Tower of the Winds”) was precariously close to the precipice. Designed by Robert Vining, it dates from 1830 and was popular with both Thomas Hardy and PD James.
Abandoned after a century, it stood derelict until 2007 when the Landmark Trust decided to move it to safer territory and turn it into accommodations. At the time the BBC reported : “The Clavell Tower, a historic landmark in Kimmeridge Bay built in 1830, has been successfully restored and relocated 25 metres from its original position to stop it falling into the sea.”
Keenan states that “There is a colossal sense of place and being.” and that “… I got up early to watch a furious sunrise spraying the sky orange towards the Isle of Wight. I had the place to myself and thanked the Landmark Trust for being bothered to save Clavell.”
What more could one ask for?
So what exactly is a “Folly”? Wikipedia offers the following explanation (along with an impressive list of such structures):
The concept of the folly is somewhat ambiguous, but they generally have the following properties:
- They are buildings, or parts of buildings. Thus they are distinguished from other garden ornaments such as sculpture.
- They have no purpose other than as an ornament. Often they have some of the appearance of a building constructed for a particular purpose, but this appearance is a sham.
- They are purpose-built. Follies are deliberately built as ornaments.
- They are often eccentric in design or construction. This is not strictly necessary; however, it is common for these structures to call attention to themselves through unusual details or form.
- There is often an element of fakery in their construction. The canonical example of this is the sham ruin: a folly which pretends to be the remains of an old building but which was in fact constructed in that state.