Don't forget to check opening times and details with the venue yourself before making arrangements.
Williamson Park, Lancaster
The park features the imposing Ashton Memorial, Edwardian Butterfly House, and the Pavilion Cafe with free wi-fi access for customers. Entry to the park grounds is free.
The Ashton Memorial was commissioned by Lord Ashton as a tribute to his late wife. It was designed by John Belcher and completed in 1909, the restored interior hosts exhibitions and concerts and can be hired for private functions, including wedding ceremonies.
Externally, the dome is of copper. The main stone used in the building is Portland stone although the steps are of granite from Cornwall. Externally around the dome are sculptures representing "Commerce", "Science", "Industry" and "Art" by Herbert Hampton. The interior of the dome has allegorical paintings of "Commerce", "Art" and "History" by George Murray. The ceiling is presently undergoing restorative works and has been covered with drapes. Specialist restoration work to the steps at the front of the Ashton Memorial has completed.
The steps were closed for over a year due to the condition of the foundations and support structures below ground, which has made the steps unsafe for use by members of the public.
It has been a major restoration project and beganwith the huge task of removing the fragile granite steps and making repairs to the areas of damaged stone. A new supporting structure to the lower staircase has been constructed in reinforced concrete and steel, the repaired granite steps replaced and the masonry joints re-pointed.
The failure of the supporting structure to the granite steps was partly due to the original construction specification typical of the time. This comprised of rolled steel joists and coke breeze concrete. This type of concrete does not provide full corrosion protection of the steel.
Water ingress through the masonry joints in the steps has allowed rain water ingress into the supporting structure, damaging the concrete and causing corrosion of the steel beams.
Manager of Williamson Park, Will Griffith, said: "Williamson Park remains one of Lancashire's most popular attractions. This Grade I listed building is now more than 100 years old and like any building of its age needs careful maintenance. Specialist restoration work is vital to ensuring that this magnificent building continues to serve our local communities and attracts visitors to the district for another 100 years."
Lancaster City Council funded the £183,000 reconstruction using local construction company, Colin Briscoe Construction Limited, and specialist stone masons.
ImageThe Butterfly House is Lancaster’s tropical oasis where exotic butterflies flutter elegantly around their leafy surroundings.
The former Palm House has recently been refurbished and resembles a tropical rain forest with flowers, trees, vines, foliage and colourful butterflies. Come along and walk amongst some of the world's most beautiful species, including brilliant swallowtails, and cleverly camouflaged Owl butterflies within a natural habitat. The pupae of new butterflies can be seen in a special display case and you may even see a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. In the stream that flows around the forest you may also spot a koi carp. Tickets can be purchased from the shop and entry costs £3.60 for adults, £2.60 for children and students, £3.20 for concessions and £11.50 for a family ticket (2 adults 2 children). Lurking in the mini beast house are a host of residents you wouldn't normally like to come face to face with. Tarantulas, snakes, lizards, giant snails and deadly Assasin bugs await your visit.
Venturing outside the cave, you will come across the lovely garden filled with rabbits and guinea pigs. There is an aviary where you can see beautiful birds flying and feeding only inches away. You will see many birds including the fun loving Fischers Lovebirds, native to Eastern Africa.
There are 10 different species of British bred foreign birds in the bird house. Many of the birds breed successfully over the summer months and at all times we ask you not to disturb their nests.
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