Concrete Rocket

Architectural whimsy in the heart of Wensleydale.
Architectural whimsy in the heart of Wensleydale.

This oddly-shaped architectural curiosity can be found within the grounds of Sorrelsykes Park, a large Georgian country house in the Lower Wensleydale region of the Yorkshire Dales. Known locally only as the ‘Sorrelsykes Rocket’, it was constructed around the early to mid-19th century, before even Jules Verne began exploring what a spacecraft might look like, so any similarity is almost certainly coincidental.

You could spend ages trying to glean clues as to its former purpose from the rather quirky design, but you’d almost certainly be wasting your time as its actually a folly – a class of entirely decorative structures that were immensely popular with wealthy Georgian/Victorian landowners and often built purposefully ruined or nonsensical, in order to provide an aura of ‘mystique’ to their holdings, and suitably impress and confuse any potential visitors.

Little is known about this one, which stands in a row with 2 others overlooking the entire estate, but I’m sure the original architect would be pleased to hear that it’s still confusing folk nearly 2 centuries later.

For more information I recommend checking out this dated, but thorough site, that covers many examples in Northern England, where they are particularly prevalent.

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