11 April 2017

Penshaw Monument

Penshaw Monument stands on Penshaw Hill, just outside of Sunderland. At 446ft tall, it is a half scale replica of the Greek Temple of Hephaestus. It was built in 1844 as an honour to the first Earl of Durham and was gifted to the National Trust in 1939. It can be seen for miles and I’ve often driven past it and wanted to get a closer look.

Penshaw is full of interesting history; the most famous legend is the one of the Lambton Worm  which was said to live coiled around Penshaw Hill, only stirring to terrorise the villagers of Penshaw below. Apparently if you look carefully you can see the marks where the giant worm once slept.

Hidden in one of the pillars of the Monument is a staircase leading to the top. For many years visitors could climb to the top of Penshaw for spectacular views until tragically, in 1926, a 15 year old boy fell to his death from the top of the Monument and the doors to the top were closed. They remained shut for 85 years until the National Trust reopened the stairs in 2011. You can now climb the Monument during the summer months, but we had to make do with looking at the giant structure from the bottom. And I don’t think I’ll be brave enough to come back and climb it!

Towering 66 feet above us, the Monument looked beautiful against the clear blue sky. We walked round enjoying the views before climbing the few steps into the main floor of the temple.

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