A call to arms for the castle that keeps fantasies alive


Jonathan Glancey guardian.co.uk, Monday 14 February 2011 17.30 GMT

Let’s support the National Trust’s campaign to preserve the magnificent Castle Drogo as a haven from our ‘margarine’ world


Castle Drogo in Dartmoor, Devon, which was completed in 1930. Photograph: Ian Leonard/Alamy

Drogo城堡在達特穆爾,德文郡,1930年完建。攝影:伊恩倫納德/ Alamy

Margarine Castle. It’s the kind of name that would have tickled Edwin Lutyens, the sweet-natured architect of the last castle to be built in England. Margarine? How could this vast granite building in Dartmoor, a modern fortress that cost £60,000 to build (£30m in today’s money), be in any way associated with an oleaginous butter substitute that those with the money looked down on from lofty social heights?


Because this quixotic and sublime country house was commissioned by Julius Drewe, that’s why. Drewe was the young man who, with John Musker, had founded Home and Colonial Stores in London in the early 1880s. By the time he asked Lutyens to create a castle for him in Devon, there were nearly 500 branches, in which the sale of margarine was a major source of income; and when work on Castle Drogo was complete – only a third of what was originally planned was built – in 1930, various mergers meant that Drewe’s retail chain owned 3,000 shops. Drewe himself had all but retired at the age of just 33 in 1899 to become a country squire. And he was free to build a castle.

因為這令人讚嘆的唐吉訶德式莊園是由Julius Drewe朱利葉斯德魯委託建造的,這就是原因。1880年代初Drewe這年輕人和約翰 Musker,在倫敦成立了家庭和群居商店。此時他問 Lutyens要為他在德文郡創造一個城堡時 ,他的商店已有近500個分支機構,其中銷售人造奶油是一個重大的收入來源,而當Drogo城堡在1930年建造完成時- 只有完成原始計畫的三分之一 ,而各種合併已讓Drewe擁有3000店的零售連鎖店。 Drewe自己在1899年以只有33歲之齡退休而成為一個鄉紳。因此,他可以自由地建起一座城堡。

Today, Drewe’s magnificent folly, founded on countless packets of margarine, is owned not by some fabulously rich descendant, but by the National Trust. The family offered it to the trust in 1974, at a time when castle and country house owners nationwide feared that Harold Wilson’s Labour government was about to introduce a wealth tax that would have seen them spreading their morning toast with margarine from a chain grocery store rather than rich, hand-churned Devon butter fresh from the farm.

今天,Drewe的宏偉裝飾性建築,是建立在無數包人造奶油,由國家信託基金而非其富有後裔所擁有。這家族於 1974年把它獻給國家信託基金,此時遍及全國的城堡和鄉間別墅的擁有者擔心哈羅德威爾遜的工黨政府即將推出的財富稅,將寧願看到他們早上在吐司塗滿從連鎖商店來的人造奶油,而不是從農場豐富,德文郡手工自製的新鮮奶油。

So, an exceedingly rich man’s whim became part of Europe’s largest conservation charity, with each of its 3.7 million members having some stake in its future. While there is no doubt that Castle Drogo is a wonder, the stuff of architectural sorcery, it has one drawback. A very big drawback indeed. Ever since its original builders left in 1930, its roofs have leaked. Water has seeped, and even cascaded, down and through its granite walls, rusting the building’s hidden steel superstructure. The castle’s 900 windows have been in danger of breaking up, while mortar joints between granite slabs have threatened to give way, meaning that over time, the whole quixotic caboodle might tumble and fall.


Should we care? Perhaps a rich man’s folly should be left to fall into a romantic ruin, especially given that it was built with asphalt-covered flat roofs – a hostage to the English climate – instead of traditional pitched roofs. This might be seen as folie-de-grandeur on a titanic scale, but at the time the Drogo workforce had been cut to shreds – many fought and died in the first world war – and an economic downturn meant that even Drewe was cautious with money in the 1920s.

我們應該關心嗎?也許一個富人的豪華宅邸應被留下而逐漸變成浪漫廢墟,特別賦予它那由瀝青覆蓋的平屋頂而不是傳統的肩斜屋頂-以應付招惹麻煩的英國氣候。這可能被視為華麗夢幻如鐵達尼般的宏偉規模,但在當時Drogo勞動人力已被削減殆盡- 有許多已在第一世界大戰中戰鬥和犧牲 -經濟衰退意味著即使連Drewe在20年代也得謹慎用錢。

Now, though, the National Trust has launched a public appeal for £1.5m to preserve Castle Drogo for the long-term future. It has also asked the Heritage Lottery Fund for £2.5m and is stumping up the rest of the £11m that needs to be spent on Drogo over the next five years through its own revenue and subscriptions. Four in five of the three hundred or so historic houses it owns lose money, so the trust is well versed in the ways of fundraising.


At a time when public services are being cut, why should anyone spend good money on a flawed building built for the boss of the chain store that would become Safeway? The answer is that Castle Drogo, like so many great houses along with unspoiled coastlines and countryside owned by the National Trust, is there as an escape from the despoliation caused by our “margarine" world. Castle Drogo was built in much the same spirit as that of hugely popular Victorian romantic novels, or, bringing its story up to date, of that of “Harry Potter" and other sorcerers-and-dragons fantasies, in print and on film.


Castle Drogo is breathtaking. Its great stairway is cavernous, its kitchens cathedral-like. Its architecture is a thing of high intelligence, dazzling sleights of hand and cunning tricks; here is a faux-medieval aesthetic shot through with “quotes" from Lutyens’s deeply moving War Memorials, his compelling, contemporary public buildings in New Delhi, and the latest – it seems – in the design of factories and power stations. Here is architecture writ as an imaginatively illustrated storybook, a story that, ultimately, belongs to all of us. It might be flawed – although it can be put right with today’s building technology – yet £11m spent over the next few years from private and public pockets, will ensure that out of margarine will come the finest Devon butter.

Drogo城堡令人嘆為觀止。其宏偉的階梯大又深,其廚房如大教堂狀。它的架構是高智慧的產物,令人眼花繚亂的手法和精巧的花招,這裡是一個從 Lutyens感人至深的戰爭紀念碑引用仿中世紀的唯美鏡頭,他引人注目,是新德里最新的當代公共建築, – 似乎-在設計工廠和發電站。這是一個富有想像力的建築文狀像一部想像力豐富的插圖故事書,一個故事,歸根結底,是屬於我們所有人。它可能是有缺陷的- 儘管它可以藉由今天的建築技術修正-,在未來數年,至少將由私人和公眾的口袋花費1100萬英鎊,將確保人造奶油的來源最終是德文郡最好的奶油。

And, as Adrian Colston, the National Trust’s general manager for Dartmoor, warns: “If we don’t spend that £11m to save the castle over the next five years, the bill will run to £50m in the next 50." Drogo once belonged to Julius Drewe; now, it belongs both to the National Trust and its millions of enthusiastic members who will vote with their wallets to save it, and to all our imaginations. And the life of the imagination is, ultimately, as priceless as a renovated Castle Drogo deserves to be.

而且,正如達特穆爾國家環境和古蹟保護委員會總經理阿德里安科爾斯頓警告說:“如果我們不能用這1100萬英鎊在未來五年內拯救該座城堡,在未來50年費用將飆近5000萬英鎊。“ Drogo曾經屬於Julius Drewe,現在,它同時屬於國家環境和古蹟保護委員和其數百萬用自己的錢包捐獻致力拯救的熱心成員,以及所有我們的想像力。而想像力的活力,最終,成為裝修Drogo城堡值得成為無價之寶的樣貌。

參考資料 :




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