Thursday, 24 July 2014

A breath of fresh air ... or I have been to ... Severndroog Castle

My wife Sue decided this lunchtime that what I needed was a breath of fresh air and a bit of exercise to help me get better ... and so we paid a visit to the newly reopened Severndroog Castle.

Severndroog Castle is a folly that was built by Lady James as a memorial to her husband, Commodore Sir William James. Commodore James achieved fame in April 1755 when he led a force that attacked and destroyed the Maratha fortress on the island of Suvarnadurg (which was pronounced Severndroog by the British). The island fortress was situated on the western coast of India between Bombay (Mumbai) and Goa.

The folly has a triangular floor plan and was designed in the Gothic-style. It is 63 feet (19m) high, and on its roof there are hexagonal turrets at each corner of the triangle. Its prominent position atop one of the highest points around London has meant that it has always enjoyed excellent views across London and the surrounding counties of Essex and Kent. In 1797 the castle was used by General William Roy when he made his trigonometric survey of Southern England, and again in 1848 when the Royal Engineers conducted their survey of London. The Castle is also reputed to have served as of the one stations on the Admiralty semaphore system between London and Chatham during the Napoleonic War, and was a fire-watching station during the Second World War.

The Castle was purchased by London County Council in 1922 and it was a local visitor attraction, with a ground-floor tearoom serving drinks and cakes. This closed in 1986 and the local council took over care and maintenance of the site. In 2002 the Severndroog Castle Building Preservation Trust was set up with the intention of renovating the Castle and returning it to public use. After mounting a very long and sustained campaign, the Trust received £595,000 of Heritage Lottery Funding, the necessary work was done, and the Castle was officially reopened to the public on 20th July this year.

The Castle

The views from the top
(These are quite large images. To see them in detail you are advised to click on them.)

The view from the top of Severndroog Castle looking towards the south and south-west. 
The view from the top of Severndroog Castle looking westwards towards Central London.
The view from the top of Severndroog Castle looking eastwards towards Kent.
The City of London.
Some of the City's newer landmarks: the Cheese Grater and the Gherkin.


  1. You'll get more REST if you restrict yourself to one post a day.

    I have several outstanding posts which I am withholding so that I do not overstretch myself.

    Glad that you feel better though!

  2. Jim Duncan,

    You are absolutely right ... but I was feeling so much better after the trip to Sevendroog that I just sat down and wrote this blog entry.

    I do have a couple more things that I want to write about that I am keeping in reserve for later this week.

    All the best,


  3. Thank you very much for posting that Bob. My wife lived in New Eltham for a while and vaguely knew of the tower but that would have been mostly when it wasn't open. Now we know it's accessible we'll definitely add it to our to do list.

  4. Nigel Drury,

    It is not open every day, so check before you go.

    There are 86 steps to the top ... and the view makes the climb worthwhile. The presence of the cafe at the bottom is an added bonus.

    All the best,



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