Published: 00:00, 07 April 2014 |
Updated: 08:44, 08 April 2014
Darnley Mausoleum at Cobham finally opened to visitors for the first time on Sunday.
It is in Cobham Heritage Park and was built in 1783 as a burial chamber for the Earls of Darnley, who owned the Cobham Estate and lived in Cobham Hall. It was never used.
It is now owned by the National Trust. It was restored after years of neglect.
Marble pillars that were lost when a massive tyre pyre burned the heart out of the two storey building on Bonfire Night in 1980 have been restored. The original source in Italy could not provide the orange-red stone, so the National Trust got the final quarrying from a source in Spain.
The mausoleum sits high on a hill in Cobham Woods.
Former Messenger reporter Alan Watkins, now retired, and his wife Syliva were, by chance, the first visitors to the restored structure.
They walked up with some of the volunteers who will now man the building each Sunday through to September from noon to 4pm.
They will help visitors to understand the thinking, the expenditure and the value to north Kent of restoring the building.
Meanwhile, for Mrs Watkins it was a long-dreamed-of visit with a special surprise on reaching the pyramidal-topped turret: she was invited by the chief warden of the park, Jonathon Ireland, to unlock the doors to the funerary chapel, and become the first of what could be millions of future visitors.
Admission is £2 per adult, £1 per child, National Trust members free, donations for the upkeep welcome.
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
Your No1 guide to getting married in Kent. From dresses to discos and venues to veils, we've got everything you could possibly need for your big day
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
We have four editions of our Kent Homes, Gardens and Interiors magazine for you to read. Click here to view them all.