|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.