Take a stroll through Staunton’s history
Walking around the park, you may stumble upon some strange structures called follies. These follies are a key element of the regency landscape created by Sir George Staunton in the 1800s.
Sir George and his friends would have visited the follies as they walked through the park, sometimes stopping for tea or to view Sir George’s collections of strange objects kept in the Shell House. Only a handful now remain, but you can follow in their footsteps to discover the follies that time forgot.
This small Ionic temple, designed by the architect Lewis Vuillamy, was built in 1830.
It is said that Sir George flew the flag to show locals when he was in residence. Parties of guests visiting the house often had tea here.
The Shell House
Designed in 1832 by Lewis Vuillamy, Staunton’s Shell House is based on the Chichester Market Cross and made from locally sourced flint and pebbles from Emsworth beach.
Originally, it would have had shells from Hayling Island lining the inner walls, but these have been lost over time, along with an odd collection of curiosities (including a stuffed crocodile, Roman pottery, a toucan beak and semi-precious gems).
The Shell House is one of the follies that has been restored as part of the restoration project.
The Chinese bridge
This stunning ornamental lake is the manmade centrepiece of the park. Sir George Staunton included the stylings of Chinese architecture and artwork in his garden designs.
The bridge shares similarities to those in the gardens of Chinese emperors, and it’s likely that Sir George may have taken inspiration from these during his visits to China.
The 21st century folly
The 21st century folly is our newest sculpture, created by artist Mick Thacker.
The folly is made up of icons, with each icon representing a stage in the historical journey taken by the park throughout the years.