Liverpool Castle – Rivington, England - Atlas Obscura

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Liverpool Castle

Rivington, England

This 20th-century replica of a 13th-century castle has itself fallen into ruin. 


Lever Park lies in the Lancashire village of Rivington between the Lower Rivington Reservoir and a hill named Rivington Pike.  The park was donated to the city of Bolton in 1902 by William Lever, who was also known as Lord Leverhulme and who founded the Lever Brothers company (which later became part of Unilever).  The area contains a number of structures that Lord Leverhulme commissioned in the early 20th century, but the most unusual of these structures is Liverpool Castle. 

The original medieval Liverpool Castle stood in Liverpool near the waterfront, which is about 36 kilometers southwest of Rivington, but it had been demolished in the 1720s.  The currently-existing structure named Liverpool Castle is a scaled replica that was commissioned by Lord Leverhulme.

Work started in 1912 and continued until Lord Leverhulme’s death in 1925. Relatively few people had been assigned to the construction of the building, so the structure was not quite finished, although the folly was supposed to look like the ruins of a castle anyway.

In the years since Lord Leverhulme’s death, the area became overgrown, and the buildings and other structures in the area, including Liverpool Castle, fell into disrepair. Weeds started growing on the castle’s masonry, people vandalized the walls, and a spiral staircase within the castle collapsed in the early 1980s. While many of the other nearby structures commissioned by Lever are now undergoing conservation and restoration work, Liverpool Castle is still slowly crumbling, transforming from a folly meant to imitate the ruins of a castle into actual ruins. Nonetheless, the park is still popular, especially among the locals, and many visitors still enjoy exploring the folly.

Know Before You Go

The castle is freely accessible at all times of day.  A car park is located to the southeast of the castle, and regular bus services travel to Rivington and the nearby village of Horwich.  A network of trails criss-cross the area, with several trails (including one from the car park) leading directly to the castle.  The walk from the car park to the castle is about half a kilometre and should take only a few minutes.

Be aware that the walls are unstable and that climbing on the walls could be dangerous, although walking among the ruins should be safe.

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