The History of Alton Towers Mansion
Nestled amongst the many rides of Alton Towers Theme Park lies the original Alton Towers, known in it's day as Alton Lodge. The house is hundreds of years old, but there have been settlements on the site, known as Bunbury Hill, dating as far back as 1000BC when it was an iron age fort. In 700AD, the land became the site of a fortress of Saxon King Ceolred Mercia.
The gothic ruins we see today were originally a summer house for the John Talbot, the first Earl of Shrewsbury, and his family. By 1800, the building was in the hands of the fifteenth Earl, Charles Talbot. He had big plans for the development of the house and grounds, which began in 1800. The work was planned to take place over the next fifty years, up until 1852. By 1811, major work on the house had already taken place, and it was now known as Alton Abbey.
Following the death of John Talbot, the sixteenth Earl, in 1852, very costly legal battles took place amongst the family for rights to the house. Henry Chetwynd Talbot won the battle, but the costly fees left him unable to pay for repairs desperately needed to the house. It was he who opened the grounds of Alton Towers to the public for the first time.
Around 1918, many of the Shrewsbury properties were sold and in 1924, Alton Towers and it's estate was sold to local business men. During the Second World War, the army used the estate for a training centre for cadets. During this time, no repairs were carried out, and the Towers continued to fall into disrepair.
In the 1970s, the now abandoned house found new owners. They carried out restorative work on the house including reinforcing floors and ceilings. As well as this, a few attractions were placed around the grounds for visitors. This was the early beginnings of the theme park we know today.