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The Ashton Memorial in Williamson Park Williamson Park, Lancaster, with its grandiose green copper dome was commissioned by James Williamson, Baron Ashton (born 1842) as a tribute to his second wife, Jenny and was built between 1907 and 1909.
The memorial cost £87,000 to build, quite a sum in those days. A native of Lancaster, Baron Ashton became a self-made a millionaire through the production of oil cloth and linoleum.
Rising to around around 150 feet high, the Ashton Memorial dominates the Lancaster skyline and is visible for many miles around. The Portland stonework of the folly reflects the colour of the sun, and can be seen in hues from pale yellow through pure white to deep orange, depending on the time of day.
The interior consists of two domed chambers, one on top of the other, with a host of steps leading out onto various balconies and is adorned with frescoes and sculptures.
The first floor outdoor viewing gallery offers stunning vistas of the surrounding countryside and across Morecambe Bay. Views include Lancaster Castle, the Priory Church and the River Lune. Surrounding the dome are sculptures representing "Commerce", "Science", "Industry" and "Art" by Herbert Hampton.
The memorial itself is open to the public, and admission is free to the lower dome.
Williamson Park is the venue for many exciting events and festivals throughout the year including concerts, art exhibitions, guided walks and the ever popular Dukes Theatre outdoor performance.