As you approach Castle Drogo it’s obvious that things aren’t quite normal. As you walk down the drive hundreds of granite blocks taken down from the parapet sparkle in the sunlight, pink and yellow markers showing which wall they belong to.
The castle, encased in scaffolding is in fact only 100 years old, built as an ancestral family home for Julius Drewe, the founder of ‘Home and Colonial Stores’ who retired a millionaire, aged just 33.
Designed by one of the greatest architects of the day, Edwin Luytens, the genius behind the Viceroy’s Palace in New Delhi and the Cenotaph, Drogo is utterly unique.
Unfortunately Castle Drogo’s flat roof failed early on in its construction and has leaked ever since, by 2012 its steel infrastructure was under severe threat. We are now nearly half way through the project and are now about to embark on the last phase of building work lasting until 2017.
While the changes to the exterior of the castle are hard to miss, the inside has also had a makeover. Artistic installations are telling the untold stories of Castle Drogo, the family that lived here and the displaying the collection in new ways.
One of the artists, Dovetail Foundry is exploring the hopes and dreams of Mr Drewe, the man who wanted a castle not just a comfortable family home.
Mr Drewe was an ambitious man, he wanted to create an imposing ancestral home situated on a granite outcrop overlooking Dartmoor. Castle Drogo certainly achieved this, and is a striking building, made entirely of granite complete with portcullis and arrow slits. It overlooks the deep Teign gorge and the view stretches to Haytor.
Though the castle looks medieval, it was actually only finished in 1930, and the contrast between the building methods of then and now is also something that’ll be explored in the installations. 100 years ago stonemasons would’ve cut stone by hand, on scaffolding of wood and rope lashed together, a far cry from our modern tools and JCBs.
Another artist, MDesign have created a giant drip to represent the first ingress of water that Mr Drewe found in the castle. It is thought that the castle has been leaking since 1914, before completion, as the asphalt on the flat roof cracked very early on in the build letting water pour through the roof.
Discover these new stories on display in the castle.