The Folly Fellowship was founded in 1988 as a pressure group to protect, preserve, and promote follies, grottoes & garden buildings. At this time, many follies were in a ruinous condition (although some were built that way) and the genre was largely an historic one that we felt worth preserving. However, since that time, there has been an increasing awareness of the importance of these buildings to our landscapes. Many have been restored, and several have been completely rebuilt with local support. Better still, some individuals with imagination and the tenacity to fight the planning process, have begun to build new follies. The rise in popularity of television building programmes has encouraged people to try and squeeze something a little unusual in their back gardens. Follies are no longer the preserve of architectural historians and the very rich. If you’d like to find out more, join us, and be part of this group who celebrate this particular branch of architecture that loves to break the rules of what is normal in buildings.
Note that apart from encouraging you to join the Folly Fellowship, this site is not about selling you anything – it is intended as a resource to enable you to find out more about the fascinating subject. So if you are writing a thesis on garden architecture, looking for an architect to design you a folly, or looking for ideas to build your own folly, dig in, there’s plenty of inspiration here.
IMPORTANT: Painshill is under threat – a proposed A3 development would take yet more land near the Tower. We have until March 23rd to fight it.
Please would you look at the link, consider signing and ask anyone else you can think of to sign the petition.
Protect Painshill from A3 development. https://www.painshill.co.uk/a3/
You may have read elsewhere about the recent death of grotto restorer and builder, Diana Reynell, who did the restoration of Painshill Grotto amongst many others. We received a long article by Roger Capps who worked with Diana on several projects and it was too long for the magazine so you may read it here. It’s well worth it.
I was sad to learn that the magnificient grotto at Horton Menagerie in Northamptonshire was destroyed last year. Built into the cellar of the house in 1995 this elaborate shell grotto was in the way when new owners wanted to put a new kitchen there. Being of recent origin, it wasn’t listed and the owners applied for and received permission to remove it. Here are some pictures to show what has been lost:
An article entitled “It’s not bonkers to be fond of a folly” appeared in the Times on Jan 26th