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BECKFORDS TOWER

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Beckford's Tower was built in 1825-1826 to the designs of Henry Edmund Goodridge for William Beckett. It was originally intended as a residence for Beckett in his retirement, however he never moved from Lansdown Crescent. Beckford visited the site every day, using it as a study retreat and to house his collection of art and rare books. Built of Bath stone ashlar, the building consists of two separate elements: a Neo-Greek style tower and an asymmetrical Italianate one-and-two-storeyed house. The tower is formed by three separate stages, the first of which spans more than half of the tower and is a relatively plain square shaft. At the second level, each side of the tower contains three rectangular openings with recessed arches framed by plain square piers. The final stage of the tower is octagonal, with a plinth supporting an octagonal lantern surrounded by cast-iron piers. In 1848, four years after Beckford's death and the Tower having been donated to the Rector of Walcot, the Bishop of Bath and Wells consecrated the ground around the Tower and the principal ground-floor room became the mortuary chapel. The interior was destroyed by fire in 1931, and in 1972 J. Owen Williams converted it to a house. The Bath Preservation Trust purchased the Tower in 1993 and have since opened it as a museum. In recent years the ground floor has been converted into holiday accommodation for the Landmark Trust.

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