The historic hall that just costs too much to save. The estate was once one of England's grandest country houses. Millions of pounds have been spent so far on the restoration of the extensive gardens. Former residents include the Dukes of Sutherland, the Duke of Suffolk and the Earl of Gower. Once one of England’s most majestic country houses, the future of this historic hall looks grim as vital restoration costs reach £35million. Grand plans for the 180-year-old Trentham Hall, in Trentham Gardens near Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire are at a standstill because of the latest economic recession, leaving them to decay after they were named on English Heritage’s ‘at risk’ register. Planning permission to turn the dilapidated building into a conference hotel has been given the green light but the cost of repairs are too high for developer St Modwen.
Doomed to disappear: What remains of 180-year-old Trentham Hall is at risk of falling into ruin after developers say £35million restoration costs are too much to make it viable
What it once was: The Trentham Estate was a spectacular sight, with several buildings and extensive gardens including a large Elizabethan house in 1630s which it is thought to have been demolished during the construction of the Georgian estate.Many millions of pounds have been spent on the estate since it was bought by St Modwen in 1996, when it was in such a state that both the buildings and extensive gardens were derelict and vandalised. Mike Herbert, the North Staffordshire regional director at St Modwen, said that much money had been spent in maintaining the site from further deterioration. After a restoration of the gardens in 2003, the estate was re-opened in 2004 and now attracts some three million visitors every year. He said of the Grade II-listed buildings: ‘We have planning approvals for the restoration of Trentham Hall but the cost of doing so is significantly greater than its current value.
Plans to develop the buildings of Trentham Hall are at a standstill after developer St Modwen says £35m restoration costs are too expensive to build the planned conference hotel
Grade II-listed heritage: Dr Simon Thurley, from English Heritage said of Trentham Hall: 'Grade II-listed buildings are the bulk of the nation's heritage treasury so when one of them is lost, it is as though someone has rubbed out a bit of the past'
Garden's revival: While some of the buildings languish, the spectacular gardens were recently refurbished and replanted with thousands of plants and flowers to return it to its former glory
Costly country views: Many millions of pounds have been spent on the estate since it was bought by St Modwen in 1996, when it was in such a state that both the buildings and extensive gardens were derelict and vandalised. ‘To restore and rebuild it would cost around £30-£35million, but the current value as a hotel is well below that. Therefore, it is just not economically viable in the current economy. 'Developing the hall was planned for five to ten years after we started the restoration but we have had somewhat of a recession in the last few years and this has delayed the plans completely. 'We are looking to see if there are ways of making the scheme work financially. The plan of a major conference centre is particularly expensive and difficult to market. 'We are committed to bringing the hall back to life, it's just a question of when we can make the numbers work.'
Grand plans: Sir Charles Barry spent more than 10 years, making improvements to the house adding a new block with state bedrooms complete with dressing rooms and its own servants' quarters as well as the sculpture gallery and the clock tower
Demolition: The lake in the estate became polluted by sewage from local potteries around the 1900s and it was offered for free to the local councils in 1905 but by 1907 it stood abandoned and so the bulk of the estate was demolished in 1912. Mr Herbert said a recent report from the local council into the estate found that 'great progress' had been made in the restoration work so far. Dr Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said: ‘Grade II-listed buildings are the bulk of the nation's heritage treasury so when one of them is lost, it is as though someone has rubbed out a bit of the past. ‘Something that made the area special will have gone. But now, with the economic climate putting more pressure than ever on these buildings, it is time to plug the one remaining gap.’
Trentham in 1937: The earliest record of Trentham Hall dates back to 1086 and since then it has been home to many prominent people including the Duke of Suffolk, Sir Thomas Pope, Earl Gower and the Dukes of Sutherland until it was abandoned in 1905
Once one of England's grandest: A drawing of the terrace in the extensive gardens which were once tended by up to 50 gardeners
Historic house: The earliest record of Trentham Hall dates back to 1086 and since then it has been home to many prominent people including the Duke of Suffolk, Earl Gower and the Dukes of Sutherland until it was abandoned in 1905
Punt for a time: The river was diverted to flow into a lake in the gardens but it became a blight on the beautiful estate when it became polluted by sewage from local potteries around the 1900s
Garden reinvention: The gardens were once tended by up to 50 gardeners and they are still maintained by a huge staff after they were revived by award-winning designer Tom Stuart-Smith
Time takes its toll: A sculpture gallery and a 100ft clock tower (pictured) are among the buildings which remain after the main hall was demolished. The spectacular and vast gardens were once tended by up to 50 gardeners and were recently refurbished and replanted with thousands of plants and flowers to return it to its former glory. It is still maintained by a huge staff and is seen by many visitors especially in spring and summer. The famous Italian Gardens were revived by award-winning designer Tom Stuart-Smith. The earliest record of Trentham estate dates back to 1086 and since then it has been home to many prominent people including the Duke of Suffolk, Sir Thomas Pope, Earl Gower and was the former seat of the Dukes of Sutherland until it was abandoned in 1905. A sculpture gallery, the 100ft clock tower, parish church are among the buildings which remain after the main hall was demolished in 1913. The site was originally an Augustinian Priory and then a convent. In the 1630s a large Elizabethan house was built but is thought to have been demolished to make way for the construction of the Georgian Trentham Hall. The house was dramatically renovated by famous architect Sir Charles Barry during the mid-1830s, at the same time he was working on the rebuilding of the Houses of Parliament. He was commissioned by the second Duke of Sutherland to make the house grander in order to show off his wealth as the largest landowner in Britain at the time. For more than 10 years, Sir Barry made improvements to the house adding a new block with state bedrooms complete with dressing rooms and its own servants’ quarters as well as the sculpture gallery and the clock tower. New family quarters and a grand main entrance displaying the family coat of arms as well as life-size wolves were also built. Even the River Trent was incorporated into the estate’s design. The river was diverted to flow into a lake in the extensive garden. But the lake became a blight on the beautiful estate when it became polluted by sewage from local potteries around the 1900s. Such a disfigurement on the estate, it was offered for free to the County of Staffordshire and the Borough of Stoke-on-Trent in 1905 but by 1907 it stood abandoned and so the bulk of the estate was demolished in 1912.
The (broken) Promised Land: Eerie Bible-themed amusement park left to fall into ruin over three decades
A theme park dedicated to the Bible may seem like a scary place for atheists and non-believers.
When it comes to the now-defunct Holy Land USA amusement park, however, even the most devout visitors can agree that it is an eerie place - at least from these photos discovered from a Flickr account.
Construction on the Waterbury, Connecticut theme park began in 1955 when a religious local lawyer named John Greco who created the 19-acre park as a place for pilgrimages and an entertaining way for interested visitors to learn about the Bible.
Scroll down for video
The abandoned Holy Land amusement park leaves a plethora of strange and peculiar artifacts
Construction on the park began in 1955 and it became very popular in the 1960s and 1970s but it shuttered in 1984, initially with plans for it to be re-done
Visible to all: The 56-foot cross in Holy Land USA theme park could be seen by drivers on a nearby highway in Waterbury, Connecticut and not just the thousands of visitors who went to the park in it's heyday
Setting the scene: The 19-acre theme park was filled with recreated scenes, religious statues and dioramas
Along with sculptures and massive displays of Bible verses, it had dioramas depicting various passages and a recreation of the Garden of Eden.
Visitors were not the only ones who experienced the light of the park, as a 56-foot cross stood shining brightly and was visible from the nearby highway. It has since been dismantled.
Neglected for nearly three decades, Holy Land more resembles a haunted mansion
Ancient influences: The connection between Judaism and Christianity was explained in one of the displays
The park was officially closed in 1984, despite receiving nearly 100,000 visitors annually
In its peak during the 1960s and 1970s, the crowds topped 40,000 annually, but that didn't stop it from closing in 1984.
Even though it was placed in the care of a group of nuns, it fell into serious disrepair and remains abandoned today.
This text from the gospel of Matthew still stands intact in the abandoned park
Pivotal spot: This shows a model of the inn in Bethlehem that was involved in the story of Jesus' birth
Eerie even then: The tombs display may have spooked some of the 40,000 annual visitors even when it was up to the highest condition but now they are even scarier
Messages: A display of the crucifixion is now covered in chicken wire (left) and the Jerusalem area is pictured here before it was vandalized (right)
While the park was open an incidence of rape was reported
Back in the day: A visitor is pictured in front of one of the displays in 1974 when it was in its heyday
The large cross stands a reminder that this site was supposed to be a site for worshiping Christians
Many of the chapters in the Bible, including Luke, contain violent imagery
Its worst milestone came in July 2010 when a 16-year-old girl was raped and murdered on the grounds.
The case prompted much speculation about what should be done with the space and how it can be secured to keep trespassers and vandals out.
21st CENTURY CHINA