Posted on Thursday, September 9, 2021 by Vickie ClarkNo comments




A costly ornamental building with no practical purpose, especially a tower or mock-Gothic ruin built in a large garden or park. An architectural structure that isn’t always what it appears to be.


The very first folly built c1595 was Sir Thomas Tresham’s triangular shaped Rushton Lodge in Northamptonshire.

It is a testament to Tresham’s Roman Catholicism: the number three, symbolising the Holy Trinity, is apparent everywhere. Grade 1 listed, this striking structure is now in the care of English Heritage.

Rushton Lodge


That was the first but did you know there are roughly around 1700 follies in the UK alone?


Each and every one of these extraordinary structures deserves a mention, but because of the sheer number I had to rein it in and just highlight a few that can be found in and around London.

So here goes!


At the top of Phipps Bridge Road in Mitcham stands a row of 19th century labourer’s cottages known as 'Everett's Place'. Standing beside the last of these is an unusual building designed to look like a ruined castle tower. This is in-fact a practical structure acting as a buttress to stop subsidence!

Everett’s Place


At nearly 300ft, The Queen’s Tower, London’s tallest folly and the least known is marooned in the middle of Imperial College. Designed by Thomas E Collcott (architect of the Savoy Hotel) in a neo-renaissance style, the surviving tower of the demolished Imperial Institute was built to mark the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 1887.