Bowes Museum 497

Barnard Castle, England

Brief Description

The Bowes Museum has associated gardens and pleasure grounds of about 8 hectares. Features include a grand terrace and parterre. There are also less formal areas of grassed mounds. The perimeter of the site is planted with trees, which frame views of the building from the main road.

History

The park and gardens were created between 1869 and 1876. The museum was opened for the first time in 1892.

Visitor Facilities

The site is open daily except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day. Please see: http://www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk/visiting/opening%20hours%20and%20admission/ More information

Terrain

Gently sloping

Detailed Description

The park and gardens consist of a grand terrace and parterre on the south side of the site. The terrace runs along the full length of the front of the museum and the parterre is reached by flights of stone steps at either end (English Heritage, 2004: 2).

The parterre is on a large oval plot with a central rectangular pool. The area is gravelled with red stone and raised shaped beds which are laid out with simple fleur-de-lys and scallop motifs. The beds are bordered by clipped yew bushes, box hedges and white gravel edging (English Heritage, 2004: 2).

To the east and west of the parterre are grassed mounds formed from the spoil produced when levelling. On the south side of the site, beside the parterre and entrance drives, there are lawns with clumps of trees. The north and west parts of the site are wooded with an understorey of shrubs such as holly and snowberry. A winding path leads through the trees around the perimeter of the site (English Heritage, 2004: 2-3).

Other features include a bowling green and tennis courts.

The following is taken from the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest

A park and gardens of 1869-1876 created to outline plans by Jules Pellechet and laid out and planted by owner John Bowes. A parterre, planned in outline by Pellechet, was laid out in 1981-1982. The parterre and park were designed as a public amenity and to provide the setting for the Bowes Museum.

DESCRIPTION

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING

The Bowes Museum lies on the eastern edge of Barnard Castle, on the north side of Newgate, the principal approach to the town from the east. The 8 hectare site is on land which slopes gently down from the north. The boundary is formed by a stone wall (Listed Grade II) which follows the line of Crook Lane to the north, former field boundaries to the east and continues along Newgate on the south side.

REFERENCES used by English Heritage

Gardeners' Chronicle, ii (25 November 1911), p 368

N Pevsner and E Williamson, The Buildings of England: County Durham (1983), pp 87-88

Country Life, 179 (30 January 1986), pp 258-262

The Bowes Museum, A Walk Through The Grounds, guidebook, (Durham County Council nd, c 1995)

Maps

Plan, nd, c 1980 showing design of parterre

OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1856

2nd edition published 1897

1927 edition

Archival items

The Bowes and Strathmore Collections, held at Durham County Record Office, include the following:

General preparatory works in the 'New Park' and bills for the carriage of trees 1869 and 1870, repairs to vinery (D/BO/E7);

a/c from John Roe re gardening at the 'New Park', a/c for building east and south park walls, invoices for supply of trees 1870, bill for lifting and transplanting trees and shrubs, invoice for lifting trees, invoice for paving flags and gateposts (D/BO/E8);

bills for planting and levelling, invoice for supply of trees (D/BO/E9);

invoices for plants, shrubs and trees 1871 and 1872, (D/BO/E10);

invoices for trees and shrubs 1874 (D/BO/E12);

invoice for trees and shrubs 1876 (D/BO/E14);

bill for trees and shrubs (D/BO/E15).

Description written: October 1999

Edited: September 2000

Features
  • Museum (featured building)
  • Description: J. E. Watson of Newcastle upon Tyne built the museum to designs by Jules Pellechet. The building is in the style of a French chateau of the 17th century. There is a symmetrical front. The central entrance block is flanked by ranges with attached pavillions. The building is located on a platform cut into rising land in the centre of the site.
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  • Gate Lodge
  • Description: One of two gate lodges at the entrance to the site. Jules Pellechet designed the lodges in about 1885. The building is a single-storey stone structure with low roofs and balustraded eaves.
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  • Gate
  • Description: The main gate was supplied by Singers of Frome.
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  • Gate Lodge
  • Description: One of two gate lodges at the entrance to the site. Jules Pellechet designed the lodges in about 1885. The building is a single-storey stone structure with low roofs and balustraded eaves.
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  • Tree Avenue
  • Description: A lime and sycamore avenue.
  • Gate Piers
  • Description: A set of stone gate piers on the north west side of the site from Crook Lane.
  • Gate
  • Description: A utilitarian ironwork gate on the north west side of the site from Crook Lane.
  • Garden Terrace
  • Description: A balustraded terrace runs the length of the front of the museum. Flights of stone steps at each end lead to a parterre below.
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  • Pool
  • Description: The semicircular pool is located in a recessed arch in the centre back of the retaining wall of the terrace.
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  • Ornamental Fountain
  • Description: The fountain head feeds the semicircular pool. It consists of a bronze mask, which is a replica of an original French 17th century example on display in the museum.
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  • Pool
  • Description: The rectangular pool is located at the centre of the parterre. It has apsidal ends containing fountains. The pool is a reinstatement of the original which was infilled and used as the base of a bandstand in 1912.
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  • Artificial Mound
  • Description: The mound is located 40 metres north west of the museum. It is a substantial mound which has been levelled on the top. There are paths around it and informal planting of shrubs with statues around the perimeter. The statues represent the heads of church and state. They were acquired from the Houses of Parliament in 1970 when original stonework was being replaced.
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  • Bowling Green
  • Description: The bowling green was laid out in about 1908. It is located 80 metres north east of the museum. It was laid out as part of a programme of alterations to provide more public ammenities.
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  • Bowling Green Pavilion
  • Description: The Bowling pavillion was created in about 1908. It overlooks the bowling green from the east side. It is in a rustic style.
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  • War Memorial
  • Description: One of two war memorials on the site. It is dedicated to the memory of the men of the Durham Militia who fell during the First World War. The memorial consists of a plinth which is surmounted by a stone cross. It lies about 32 metres west of the west lodge.
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  • War Memorial
  • Description: One of two war memorials on the site. It is dedicated to the memory of the fallen of Barnard Castle during the First World War. The memorial consists of a simple obelisk and is located about 32 metres east of the east lodge.
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  • Boundary Wall
  • Description: A stone boundary wall around the circumference of the site.
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Drive
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

The site is open daily except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day. Please see: http://www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk/visiting/opening%20hours%20and%20admission/

Directions

The Bowes Museum lies on the eastern edge of Barnard Castle. The town can be reached via the A66, 20 minutes by car from the A1. The principal entrance is from Newgate.
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Barnard Castle
History

Detailed History

John Bowes was the illegitimate son of the tenth Earl of Strathmore. Bowes spent many years living in France where he met and married Josephine Benoite, Countess of Montalbo. The couple amassed a large collection of objects d'art in France. On his return to England, Bowes decided to build a museum to receive this collection. In 1869 to 1870 Bowes acquired land to the east of Barnard Castle (English Heritage, 2004: 1).

Jules Pellechet created designs and between 1869 to 1876 John Bowes laid out the scheme. Both Bowes and his wife died before the museum was completed, but work was continued by trustees.The museum opened in 1892 although the park had already been open to the public when building was taking place (English Heritage, 2004: 1).

In 1898 the museum closed due to lack of funds but the park remained open. During this time the area which is now the parterre was designed with mass bedding (English Heritage, 2004: 2).

In 1909 the museum reopened although it continued to have severe financial problems. The park was increasingly used for community gatherings. A bowling green was laid out in 1908 as part of a programme of alterations aimed at providing more public amenities.The area which is now the parterre was also altered after 1911. The area was grassed over and used for community events, with a bandstand forming the focal point (English Heritage, 2004: 2).

In 1956 the trusteeship of the site transferred to Durham County Council. In 1981 to 1982 the parterre was laid out by Durham County Council to designs by Jules Pellechet. In 1999 the museum became a charitable trust (English Heritage, 2004: 1).

The following is taken from the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest

HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

John Bowes (1811-1885) was the illegitimate son of the tenth Earl of Strathmore. He spent many years living in France where he met and married Josephine Benoite, Countess of Montalbo. The couple amassed a large collection of objets d'art before returning to England and the Bowes Museum was designed to receive this collection and display it to the public. Bowes acquired land for the museum in 1869-1870 in an area immediately east of Barnard Castle shown on the 1856 Ordnance Survey map as open fields. The project included the construction of a chapel on the site but this was never completed because of a dispute over access, and a new chapel was ultimately erected in the south-west corner of the site (outside the registered area) in 1926. Both Bowes and his wife died before completion of the project, but work was continued by the trustees and the museum was opened in 1892. The park had been open to the public during the construction of the building, and it remained open when the museum closed in 1898 due to lack of funds. The museum reopened in 1909 but severe financial problems continued in the years which followed, culminating in the trusteeship being transferred to Durham County Council in 1956. The site remains (1999) in the ownership of Durham County Council and is open to the public.

Associated People
Contact
References

References