Rivington Castle, Lancashire

This building looks for all the world like one of many typical ruined Castles, built around a courtyard plan (such as Bolingbroke in Lincolnshire for instance).  It stands in a commanding position over Rivington Reservoir and has thick walls and typically Castle-like features.

Hang on a minute ... "reservoir"?  There wouldn't have been a reservoir to command in medieval times.  So how come this is such a convincing construction.

Well, the truth is this Castle was started in 1916 by Lord Leverhulme, the architect of Port Sunlight on the Wirral and a great early 20th century industrialist.  It is so convincing because it is an exact replica of Liverpool's genuine ruined Castle which was demolished in the 1720s to make way for easier traffic access to the City.

Leverhulme, ever the philanthropist, wanted to add a bit of interest to the park he was laying out here for his employees.  However, his enthusiasm must have waned because it was left unfinished on his death in 1925.

What does now remain is an impressively large testimony to Leverhulme's vision of an industrial utopia, where even history can be recreated if its original position proved too awkward for its own good.  Sadly his vision, like his Castle, remains unfulfilled.

The grounds of Lever Park are still open to the public and make a wonderful place for a long ramble, and suddenly happening upon the replica of Liverpool's long-since dead Castle in the middle of the woods cannot cease to be a pleasant surprise.

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