I watched an intriguing documentary last night: Crisis At the Castle.
This three-part series, filmed in 2007, covered three different families who lived in English or Scottish castles or manors, and their accompanying financial troubles.
I know. Feeling sorry for people with titles and big bucks? Bear in mind that when they have a leaky roof -- and this was a big issue for all three places -- we're talking millions of dollars to replace it. These places all looked wonderful, but all had serious building issues. Their owners were trying everything from event-hosting to B&Bs and concerts, even selling land and collections off just to pay the bills.
One of the places was Kelburn Castle, from North Ayrshire, Scotland. It's owned by the Earl of Glasgow, along with his 30s-something son.
The castle had kept its noble bones. But it was a mess, including a flaking concrete outer shell that was falling apart.
So why am I telling you all this?
Because this was the Earl and son's solution to the concrete problem:
Cover it with graffiti.
They offered four Brazilian artists the chance to paint whatever they wanted on the outside of the castle -- provided, I'm guessing, that they paid to fix up the outer shell first.
The Earl even got Historic Scotland to agree to it, by saying that this was only temporary -- and they would return the castle to its original look. After all, it's said to be the oldest castle to have a family in continuous residence. The Earl's ancestors came to the country with William the Conqueror in 1066, and settled in Kelburn in 1140. The oldest part, the Norman Keep (for defense), is thought to date from 1200.
And now it looks like a New York City apartment building. Or maybe our dumpster.
Although the Earl's son originated the Graffiti Project, the Earl says he likes it so much that he's asked Historic Scotland to keep the painted motifs permanently.
Or is he just saving $$?
You can see Kelburn Castle for yourself; it's open to the public. Stay there, ride horses, take the kids to the Country Centre...even get married there, if you like. Take a look at their Facebook page, for possibilities. Directions, history and more are here, including a bunch of links to other castles.
Only, if you decide to take advantage of their 'glamping' program and stay in a tent outside, be sure to pack a sleep mask.
That paint is pretty bright.
|Photos 1, 3 and this one courtesy of Wikipedia|
"I was a bit apprehensive I suppose, but now I think it's rather lovely."
--The Earl of Glasgow, quoted in The Future of Scotland?