Lost Castles, for the first time, involved all the boroughs of Merseyside. Hundreds of volunteers worked with the French artist Olivier Grossetȇte to create impressive structures out of cardboard. The structures represented medieval castles or historical important buildings.
These are the ones we saw. We didn’t get to Wirral because it slightly collapsed after some rain. It was a shame, as it would have been a lovely Viking church. I found a picture on Instagram that I’ve embedded at the end of the post.
The cardboard boxes were made in workshops in the week prior to the building of the castles. They were arranged on site, using duct tape.
This is how the castles were made; by making the top, lift it up and sliding a new layer underneath, and so on until the castle was ready. We saw the building at Knowsley on Friday, the day before the big event. While we were there, a lady told us that at St. Helens they were looking for volunteers. We already planned to go to see the castle at St. Helens, so off we went.
Lost Castles – St Helens
This is how the castle looked like when we got to St. Helens.
We’ve asked if they needed help and we got to work. On the bottom left is me, building a castle! I love that.
The castle was built in Victoria Square, near the Town Hall. This is the Stuttgart Old Castle, partially recreated. It was built to commemorate the 70th twinning anniversary between St Helens and the German city of Stuttgart. It was the first post-war twinning to take place between a British and German town. It was also the first city I’ve seen in Germany, when I went on holiday many years ago.
The castle would have been a little bigger, but it was late and there weren’t enough people to lift it up again. Still, I think it looks amazing.
On Saturday, we went to see the rest of the castles. Rebecca from becster came with us, along with her lovely daughters and her husband. We had a wonderful time.
Lost Castles – Halton
Halton was the first on our list. It was built at Norton Priory, and it was inspired by Halton Castle. Now Halton Castle is a medieval ruin less than two miles away, in Halton village.
The castle is thought to have originated as a motte and bailey in the early Norman campaigns in the north of England. The part built for the event was the imposing 15th century gatehouse when the fortress was in its heyday. The artwork was placed near Norton Priory’s own medieval ruins, as a fitting parallel as the histories of the two complexes were intertwined throughout the Middle Ages.
Part of the structure will be retained to be destroyed in a reenactment siege on the Medieval weekend on Saturday 18th August and Sunday 19th August. That sounds like fun too.
At Norton there were some trebuchet displays and volunteers were talking about archery. On the right is a longbow arrowhead used at Crecy in the 15th century. He also talked about the battle of Angicourt.
Lost Castles – Knowsley
Knowsley was next on our list.
Celebrating the Elizabethan and Jacobean heritage of Knowsley, this structure was inspired from Elsinore Castle. It featured in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. That also explains the giant Elizabethan puppets.
There were two giant smoke breathing Dragons too.
Lost Castles – Sefton
Bootle Castle, also known as Miller’s Castle, was recreated in Bootle. At the beginning of the 19th century, Bootle was a coastal village. It became a popular tourist destination. William Miller was a wealthy solicitor and he designed his villa to look like a castle. By 1855 thousands of people were visiting Bootle Bay. In the 1860s though, the warehouses and houses took over and the tourism disappeared.
Lost Castles – Liverpool
Located in Williamson Square, the castle was inspired by Liverpool Castle. Liverpool Castle stood at the top of modern day Lord Street, and is thought to have been built early in the 13th Century – around 1230s.
In the Old Dock Experience I’ve mentioned Liverpool castle before. Have a look at that post to see a secret entrance to the castle, discovered during recent excavations.
We’ve heard medieval music. It was so much fun.
Lost Castles – Wirral
In Ashton Park, Wirral, a Viking stave church was built. It was made to celebrate Wirral’s unique Viking history and Norse connections. The area is thought to have been almost a Viking state in its own right with its own borders, customs, trading point and language.