Stepping Stones, Jesmond Dene, Newcastle on Tyne, Tyne & Wear


Stepping Stones, Jesmond Dene, Newcastle-on-Tyne
Postmarked 1908
Publisher “B & D London”

Google Street VIew (approximate)

Jesmond Dene is the jewel in the crown of Newcastle’s parks and green spaces. The Dene is packed full of historic and natural features and masses of wildlife, flowers and ancient woodland for everyone to enjoy. The River Ouseburn was used to power the mills of the industrial revolution. You will find evidence of the area’s industrial heritage within the Dene today. By 1862 William Armstrong had purchased most of the Dene and had built his house (Jesmond Dene House) and transformed the dene into his private garden, creating waterfalls, a grotto and planting many exotic trees and shrubs. In 1883 Armstrong gifted his garden back to the people of Newcastle and it was officially opened to the public in 1884. . . . Jesmond Dene is an ancient woodland and of geological interest. The dominant tree species are English, with a mix of exotic species. Wildlife can be found in abundance – with otters, kingfishers and dippers known to have breeding sites on the river.
Urban Green, Newcastle

Turning left, we descend into a quarry which on a fine summer’s day is a veritable suntrap. The quarry, shown as Blaeberry Crags on earlier maps, was worked for sandstone which is of a very high quality and is said to have made grindstones which were shipped all over the world. Leaving the quarry by the lower path we can see on our left, high in the bankside a seam of coal – not of very high quality, but a reminder of the number of small drift mines once along the bank of the Ouseburn. From here we rejoin the Ouseburn and keeping to the left bank, pass North Lodge, with stepping stones directly in front, and continue to Jesmond Dene Waterfall with its bridge and ruined mill. The Waterfall, an awe-inspiring sight when in full spate, was constructed in the late 1800s by the then Lord Armstrong to provide a more picturesque view. Below it stands the old Water Mill, one of many mills which bordered the Ouseburn in years past.
Jesmond Dene

Kensington Gardens, London


Kensington Gardens
1900s

Google Street VIew (approximate)

Kensington Gardens, once the private gardens of Kensington Palace, are among the Royal Parks of London. . . . Kensington Gardens was originally the western section of Hyde Park, which had been created by Henry VIII in 1536 to use as a hunting ground. It was separated from the remainder of Hyde Park in 1728 at the request of Queen Caroline and designed by Henry Wise and Charles Bridgeman in order to form a landscape garden, with fashionable features including the Round Pond, formal avenues and a sunken Dutch garden. Bridgeman created the Serpentine between 1726 and 1731 by damming the eastern outflow of the River Westbourne from Hyde Park. The part of the Serpentine that lies within Kensington Gardens is known as “The Long Water”. At its north-western end (originally the inflow of the River Westbourne), in an area known as “The Italian Garden”, there are four fountains and a number of classical sculptures. At the foot of the Italian Gardens is a parish boundary marker, delineating the boundary between Paddington and St George Hanover Square parishes, on the exact centre of the Westbourne river. Kensington Gardens were opened to the public in 1841.
Wikipedia

Map of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, “The American Cyclopædia” vol 13, 1879 (from Wikimedia Commons). “Italian Gardens are marked as “WW”

The Italian Gardens are an elaborate mix of four main basins. They feature central rosettes carved in Carrara marble, the Portland stone and white marble Tazza Fountain, and a collection of stone statues and urns. . . . The gardens are believed to have been a gift from Prince Albert to his beloved Queen Victoria. They are now recognised as being a site of particular importance and are Grade II listed by Historic England. The layout of the Italian Gardens can be traced to Osborne House on The Isle of Wight, where the royal family spent its holidays. Prince Albert was a keen gardener and took charge of the gardens at Osborne House, where he introduced an Italian garden with large raised terraces, fountains, urns and geometric flower beds. In 1860 he brought the idea to Kensington Gardens. The design by James Pennethorne includes many features of the Osborne garden.
Royal Parks

Tower, New Brighton, Wallasey


Tower and Lake
New Brighton
c.1910
Publisher: Valentine

Google Street View.

1937 map showing location of park and tower

New Brighton Tower was a steel lattice observation tower at New Brighton in the town of Wallasey, Cheshire (now in the Borough of Wirral, in Merseyside), England. It stood 567 feet (173 m) high, and was the tallest building in Great Britain when it opened some time between 1898 and 1900. Neglected during the First World War and requiring renovation the owners could not afford, dismantling of the tower began in 1919, and the metal was sold for scrap. The building at its base, housing the Tower Ballroom, continued in use until damaged by fire in 1969. The tower was set in large grounds, which included a boating lake, a funfair, gardens, and a sports ground. The sports ground housed, at different times, a football team, an athletics track and a motorcycle speedway track.

New Brighton Tower regularly advertised itself as “the highest structure and finest place of amusement in the Kingdom”. A single entrance fee of one shilling (or a ticket for the summer season, costing 10s 6d) was charged for entrance into the grounds, which included the gardens, the athletic grounds, the ballroom and the theatre. An additional charge of sixpence was levied on those who wished to go to the top of the tower. There was a menagerie within the building, containing Nubian lions, Russian wolves (which had eight cubs in 1914), bears in a bear pit, monkeys, elephants, stags, leopards and other animals. There was also an aviary above the ballroom. The Tower Building also contained a shooting gallery and a billiard saloon with five tables.
Wikipedia.

New Brighton Tower prior to its demolition in 1919. (from Wikimedia Commons).

Under the tower was an octagonal building housing a ball room and theatre. The ‘Tower Ballroom’ was one of the largest in the world and provided a sprung floor and band stage. It was decorated in white and gold and included a balcony to watch the dancers. Next to the ballroom was a billiard saloon and above it were a monkey house, aviary and shooting gallery. The theatre could accommodate 3,500 people and had the largest stage in the world measuring 45 feet wide and 72 feet deep. The grounds around the tower provided numerous other facilities. The Tower Gardens, covering 35 acres, included a Japanese Cafe, Venetian Gondolas, Parisian Tea Garden and outdoor dancing platform. The ‘Old English Fairground’ provided a switchback railway, water chute, lion house and menagerie.
Citizan

The Tower was illuminated at night with fairy lights, as were the grounds. 30,000 red, white and green around the many pathways. Admission to the grounds was a shilling, which included admission to the Ballroom and Theatre. . . . The Ballroom was one of the largest in the world, with a sprung floor and dance band stage. The orchestra had as many as 60 players. . . It was decorated in white and gold, with the emblems of various Lancashire towns. The Ballroom had a balcony, with seats to watch the dancers below. . . Above the Ballroom there was a Monkey House and Aviary in the Elevator Hall and also a Shooting Gallery.
. . .
The Tower Gardens had much to offer also. The whole area covered 35 acres. There was a large Japanese Cafe at the lakeside, where the real Gondoliers had Venetian Gondolas. There was also a fountain and seal pond in the old quarry, with its rockery. Then there was the Parisian Tea Garden where one could enjoy a cup of tea and watch the pierrots. Situated in the trees was a restaurant called ‘The Rock Point Castle’. At the Promenade end there was an outdoor dancing platform which could hold over a thousand dancers where also the Military Band played.
History of Wallasey

Standing at 567ft, it was the tallest building in the country. Visitors at the time were charged a single entrance fee of one shilling which allowed them to get into the tower grounds, and included a ballroom, theatre, gardens and athletic grounds. However, if guests were brave enough to go up the tower they were charged an additional sixpence for the pleasure. But once at the top, they were rewarded with spectacular views – on clear days, it was possible to see as far as the Isle of Man across the Irish Sea, the Lake District and the Welsh mountains.
“What happened to New Brighton Tower and why was it taken down?”, Liverpool Echo

NIGHT ON A TOWER
When the first lift ascended on the morning of 8th September, to the top of the New Brighton tower, on the Cheshire side of Mersey, tho attendant was astonished to see a woman and her 12-year-old daughter walk into the lift for the purpose of descending. The two bad been on the top of the tower since half-past 9 the previous evening. It is customary (says “Lloyd’s Weekly News”) before the descent of the last lift to give an intimation to that effect, to anyone who may be on the tower summit. Apparently the . woman and her daughter did not hear it, and they passed unnoticed when the usual round of inspection was made previous to the final lift going down. Finding themselves unable to make known their plight to others some 600 feet below, they made themselves as comfortable as possible in tho covered-in portion of the tower top. When they were rescued from their position, they took their experience quite philosophically, merely complaining that they had spent a cold, sleepless night, and leaving the tower grounds without even giving their names to the officials.
The Telegraph, 26 October 1909

In 1914, it was closed to the public following the outbreak of the First World War. With closure, lack of maintenance caused the steel superstructure to rust. The tower was eventually taken down between 1919 and 1921. Despite the tower’s removal, its ballroom continued to be used for almost the next 50 years. Many famous acts visited the New Brighton venue including Little Richard The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. . . . The end of the Tower came when it was destroyed by fire on Saturday 5th April 1969, the heroic attempts by the fire brigade who fought the flames for hours was in vain, the walls started to collapse and this magnificent building just died.
Wallasey and the Dutton Family

New Brighton, Cheshire
Stands at the mouth of the Mersey 31 miles north west of Liverpool It has a pier battery and lighthouse and will no doubt soon become a well known watering place Provisions are dear The population numbers 3319
Routes. — By London and North Western Great Northern Midland or Great Western Railways to Liverpool thence by ferry every quarter of an hour
Climate and Season.– The climate is good and the season from June to September.
Beach and Scenery.– The beach is fine hard smooth sand and very safe and the bathing is good vans plentiful The surrounding country undulated
Objects of Interest.– Wallasey Bid Seacombe Ferry the Battery which is open to public are in the vicinity and trips can be made to Liverpool where picture galleries botanical gardens parks St George’s Hall museums & c Eastham 6 miles New Ferry 4 miles Birkenhead Bangor Rhyl the Isle of Man & c by steamer
Amusements.– A band plays on the pier and boating & c can be had and there are Assembly rooms in the Abion road Churches St James and various
“The dictionary of watering places … at home and abroad”, 1883, pp. 72-3

King’s Hall, Belfast


The King’s Hall, Balmoral, Befast.
Ireland’s greatest exhibition hall, biult by the Royal Ulster Agicultural Society.
And opened on 29th May, 1934, by H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester K.G.
Postmarked 1939
Publisher: Hurst & Co

The King’s Hall was a multi-purpose venue located in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The King’s Hall consisted of 6 event venues. The King’s Hall is owned by the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) (previously the North East Agricultural Association of Ireland), who moved to the venue in 1896 from their previous showgrounds in Belfast Corporation Markets area.
. . .
The King’s Hall was designed by Leitch and Partners, Glasgow, built in 1933 by J & R Thompson, Belfast and opened by the Duke of Gloucester on 29 May 1934. The King’s Hall was the largest exhibition venue in Northern Ireland and prior to the completion of the Odyssey and the Waterfront Hall, was the only large concert venue in Northern Ireland. It hosted the Balmoral Show, an annual agricultural show with regular attendees in excess of 75,000. The stepped facade of the hall features substantial windows and Art Deco motifs on doors and buttresses. Inside, the functional space is spanned by reinforced concrete arches.
Wikipedia.

The Kings Hall at the Balmoral Showgrounds was constructed in 1933-34 as a permanent exhibition hall for the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society and was officially opened on 29th May 1934 by H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester, being renamed the ‘King’s Hall’ by the permission of King George V. The Royal Ulster Agricultural Society immediately put the Kings Hall to use for a variety of purposes. In 1936 alone the hall was utilised for a number of exhibitions, evangelical meetings, boxing and wrestling contests and a circus that was held at Christmas. Staples of the annual schedule at the Kings Hall included the Ideal Home Show, motor shows and wedding exhibitions. In later decades the hall would also be used for music concerts; the Beatles famously performed at the Kings Hall on 2nd November 1964. The Kings Hall was put to a very different use during the Second World War when the exhibition hall was requisitioned for the duration of the conflict. The premises at Balmoral were occupied until a few months after the end of hostilities in 1945. The Air Ministry (Ministry of Supply) acquired the site in 1940 and converted the Kings Hall into an aircraft factory for Short Bros. & Harland in order to construct fuselages for Stirling Bombers.
King’s Hall Health and Wellbeing Park

Rowntree Memorial Park, York


Rowntree Memorial Park, York
1920s

Google Street View (approximate).

Google Street View overview of park

Rowntree Park opened on the 16th of July 1921, as a gift to the people of York from the Rowntree Family and it was “intended to serve as a perpetual memorial to the members of the Cocoa works staff that fell and suffered in the War”. Rowntree stated he wanted the park to “afford many rest and recreation from the turmoil and stress of life, and bring health and happiness to a large number of young lives”. From that day on, the park was owned and managed by York City Council. The deeds to 17 acres of land were signed in 1919 and the land cost £1,500. The work was funded, supervised and maintained by the Rowntree Village Trust. The building of the park created work for those who had none. The architect, Fredrick Rowntree, added a flood prevention system. The area was drained in 1919, with 19,000 yards of pipes being laid, sluice gates installed and a flood wall at the southern end of the park.
Friends of Rowntree Park

As the city’s first municipal park, it had many things to offer for the people of York. As both a public park and a recreational ground, the park’s designers aimed to encourage the well-being and pleasure of the people. Originally there were formal gardens, a tearoom, bowling greens, an ornamental lake, and even an outdoor swimming pool.
History of York

The Park comprises two bowling-greens, a girls’ hockey-ground, boys’ cricket-ground, a lake (the walk-round which measures about half a mile), a wading-pool and sand-beach for children. There are sunk rose-gardens and a bandstand. The lake, which is fed with the overflow from the wading-pool, is shallow, so as to be free from danger to- children and to skaters in winter. An aerial pump maintains the supply of fresh water to the wading-pool, which is overlooked by a shelter. The Park is entered by a lych gate, within which is a memorial tablet. There are well-appointed.tea-rooms inside the Park.
“Annual Reports of the Medical Officer Of Health, the Inspector Of Nuisances, and the Public Analyst” City of York, 1921

Maumbury Rings, Dorchester, Dorset


Roman Amphitheatre, Dorchester
Dated 17 Janaury 1912, postmarked 18 Janaury 1913

Google Street View.

Stone Circles.org.uk: photos & panorama

Maumbury Rings is a Neolithic henge in the south of Dorchester town in Dorset, England (grid reference SY690899). It is a large circular earthwork, 85 metres in diameter, with a single bank and an entrance to the north east. It was modified during the Roman period when it was adapted for use as an amphitheatre, and the site was remodelled again during the English Civil War when it was used as an artillery fort guarding the southern approach to Dorchester. The monument is now a public open space, and used for open-air concerts, festivals and re-enactments.
Wikipedia.

The Neolithic Henge’s original function, like so many other structures from the same time, remains enigmatic though scholars have proposed it could have been a place of ritual or astronomical observation, as excavations in the early 20th century revealed the shafts used in its foundation contained fragments of tools made from deer bone, flint, and even fragments of human skull! The reason Maumbury Rings still stands while so many henges have disappeared over time is that it has been adapted to suit various purposes since its creation. The Roman Town of Durnovaria (Dorchester) modified the rings in roughly 100 AD to make it a place of entertainment – an amphitheatre. Throughout this period the rings would be host to gladiatorial fights and executions. There’s no record of the rings use in Saxon times though it likely stayed as a place of meeting and by the middle ages it was again host to violent spectator sports, this time jousting tournaments. In 1642 the earthwork was again remodelled and saw yet another function, this time one of war. The Parliamentarians turned it into an artillery fort guarding the southern flank along Weymouth Road where the Royalists were thought to be advancing. After the civil war Maumbury rings gained a macabre status as its role as a place of public execution was revived, most notably by the infamous Judge Jeffreys who condemned eighty rebels to death in Maumbury Rings.
Dorchester Dorset

The monument includes a henge, a Romano-British amphitheatre and Civil War fieldworks situated in the centre of Dorchester. The henge, amphitheatre and fieldworks are superimposed on one another with visible remains of all three elements. They survive as a roughly circular enclosure bank with an internal diameter of up to 64m, the bank measuring approximately 4m wide, broken and terraced in places with a maximum height of 4m externally and 5.6m internally. There is an entirely buried internal henge ditch, and a bulge in the earthworks to the south west marks the site of the gun emplacement. From the centre of the enclosure the ground slopes gradually upwards. The single entrance is to the north east. The gun emplacement has levelled part of the bank and is composed of a steep ramp of material with a level platform thus created on the summit. . . . During the Romano-British period the henge earthworks were modified by the internal excavation of an oval, level arena floor and the cutting of seating into the scarp and bank which was subsequently revetted with either chalk or timber. Chambers were cut into the bank to the south west and one on each side of the centre. Objects recovered on the arena floor and elsewhere suggested a 4th century date for the final usage of the amphitheatre although there was a 2nd century inhumation. The Civil War fieldworks were begun in 1642 and are visible as terraces and a gun emplacement platform to the south west. . . .Subsequently the interior of the enclosure was under cultivation.
Historic England

Common, Tunbridge Wells, Kent


Tunbridge Wells from the Common

Google Street View (approximate).

The two commons at Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall, linked by Langton Road, are managed by the Tunbridge Wells Commons Conservators, and funded by the Borough Council, ensuring free public access over 256 acres of hilly, often heavily wooded terrain with a large number of open spaces. These much-loved commons are famous for their large sandstone outcrops such as Toad Rock and Wellington Rocks, and also feature cricket grounds, lakes, ponds, woods, heathland and the remains of the old racecourse. They are hugely important in adding to the high quality of life that Tunbridge Wells is famous for. Having always played an important part in the history and development of Tunbridge Wells, a number of churches and Victorian buildings and pubs surround the commons, adding to its charm as the perfect place for a long walks, ball games and picnics. The commons was originally lowland heath with very little tree cover until the end of the 19th century, when grazing died out, and tree cover increased, obscuring some views over the commons.
Explore Kent

The town of Tunbridge Wells began with a chalybeate spring. Chalybeate means it contains iron. Rainwater fell on ground containing iron deposits, soaked through them then rose in a spring. The iron deposits in the spring water stained the ground around the spring a rusty colour. The spring stood by a common where local people grazed their livestock. In the early 17th century people believed that they would be healed from diseases if they bathed in or drank from certain spas. In the year 1606 a nobleman, Lord North, who was staying at Edridge was out for a ride. He came across the spring with rust-colored edges and wondered if it had health-giving properties. (At the time he was suffering from tuberculosis or some similar disease). He drank some of the spring water and was, he said, healed from his illness. When he returned to London he told all his rich friends about the spring and soon many people flocked to drink from it. After 1608 wells were dug and a pavement was laid but there were no actual buildings at Tunbridge until 1636. In that year 2 houses were built, one for ladies and one for gentlemen. In the late 17th century these developed into coffee houses. A coffee house was a place where you could drink coffee (a new drink at the time) or chocolate and read a newspaper.
Local Histories


Tunbridge Wells from the Common
Postmarked 1906.
Publisher: Valentine

Tresco Abbey Gardens, Isles of Scilly


Scilly Isles. Old Abbey Ruins. Dracaena in Bloom.
c.1910
Publisher: Pictorial Stationery Co.

Google Street View.

In 1834, Augustus Smith left Hertfordshire and took up residence on the Isles of Scilly as Lord Proprietor and leaseholder of all the islands, choosing Tresco as his home… He selected a site adjacent to St Nicholas Priory – which had fallen into disrepair in the sixteenth century – to build his home. On a rocky outcrop above these ruins, Augustus Smith built his house, which he named Tresco Abbey. In addition to constructing the house, he started almost immediately creating a garden based around the priory ruins. In order to protect his early plantings from the winter gales, he built a series of walls around the garden. The garden then expanded across the south-facing hillside on a series of terraces carved from the granite subsoil.
Tresco Island

Tresco Priory is a former monastic settlement on Tresco, Isles of Scilly founded in 946 AD. It was re-founded as the Priory of St Nicholas by monks from Tavistock Abbey in 1114. A charter of King Henry I mentions a priory as belonging to Tavistock Abbey in the reign of Edward the Confessor. . . The Priory did not survive the Dissolution of the Monasteries and may well have closed earlier. The remains of the priory are now incorporated into Tresco Abbey Gardens.
Wikipedia.


Scilly. | Tresco Abbey.
c.1910

Google Street View.

Tresco Abbey Gardens are located on the island of Tresco in the Isles of Scilly, United Kingdom. The 17 acre gardens were established by the nineteenth-century proprietor of the islands, Augustus Smith, originally as a private garden within the grounds of the home he designed and built. The gardens are designated at Grade I in the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

Augustus Smith chose Tresco as the site of his home because the site was more or less central in relation to the rest of the islands. It is also close to the original abbey ruins, is near a fresh water pool and overlooks the sand dunes and beach at Carn Near. The area at the time was barren land and the original building, designed by Smith and started in 1835, was small in comparison to the current building. He made additions to the house in 1843 and 1861. The Grade II listed house consists of roughly coursed granite with ashlar dressings and a slate roof. Some of the timbers from the 1861 wreck of the Award were used for the panelling and roof of the new dining room, as well as panelling of the rooms Annet, Rosevean and Rosevear. His successor, Thomas Smith-Dorrien-Smith, added the tower in 1891.
Wikipedia.

Country house. Mostly of 1843 and 1861, with tower of 1891, for Augustus Smith and Thomas Algernon Dorrien Smith. Roughly coursed granite with ashlar dressings; slate roofs and granite ashlar stacks. Complex evolved plan: main square block with east tower, to east of west wing and south-west wing. 2 and 3 storeys. North elevation has 3-storey entrance bay between main block and west wing, with monogram AS and date 1843 over chamfered 4-centred arched doorway; this is flanked by a slender 3-storey tower with small windows
Historic England


Mesembryanthemums
Aloes Steps, Tresco
Scilly

c.1910
Publisher: “The ‘Neptune’ Series by C. King, Scilly Isles”

Google Street View.

Ladies Bathing Place, Portrush, Co. Antrim


Ladies Bathing Place, Portrush
1930s, postmarked 1943
Publisher: Valentine

Google Street View.

The Victorians discovered and extolled the health advantages of sea air and sea-water bathing during the later years of the 19thCentury. Even much later, in 1929, the Portrush Urban District Council was extolling the virtues of the summer Atlantic breezes – “provide a pure and bracing atmosphere which is wonderfully invigorating and far-famed as the best of tonics”. A small sheltered beach on the East side of the Portrush Peninsula became popular with ladies and children and in time became known as “The Ladies Bathing Place”. Victorian sensibilities precluded mixed bathing so gentlemen had to find other locations such as the Blue Pool for their own bathing.
. . .
By the turn of the century the popularity of the Ladies Bathing Place necessitated the provision of better facilities which were provided in due course by Messrs Robert Chalmers, a local businessman, Town Councillor and Mr Campbell joint proprietors of “Campbell & Chalmers, The Corner Shop” Grocers and Provision Merchants on Main Street, Portrush. Their new shop replaced the early wooden kiosks and provided confectionery, refreshments, souvenirs and other beach side requisites. The sign on the shop invited us to purchase genuine Cailler’s Swiss Chocolate which, they claimed, was the best-selling chocolate in the world.

By 1912 the upsurge in business required larger premises and again Messrs Chalmers & Campbell were there to provide for the needs of holidaymakers. A new two storey shop with single storey side extension was provided in which there was a fine café. In good weather customers could partake of their repast on the roof balcony. This was also used for evening tea dances which might feature entertainment such as Madame Levantes’ Ladies Orchestra. A concrete breakwater and sun-deck were also constructed at this time. By 1926 the name “Arcadia” had appeared on the café and shop and the café had acquired a roofed upper storey with the lower storey being remodelled to match. This upper storey contained a small ballroom with a stage at the seaward end and was used for tea dances and other functions for many years. Several kiosks were still provided beside the Arcadia probably providing deckchairs and other beach goods and bathing boxes were still available to the rear with direct access to the beach and the sea.
Discover Portrush

Pagoda, Kew Gardens, London


Pagoda, Kew Gardens
Postmarked 1906
Publisher: Millar & Lang, Glasgow

Google Street View.

Kew’s Pagoda was completed in 1762 as a gift for Princess Augusta, the founder of the Gardens. It was one of several Chinese buildings designed for Kew by Sir William Chambers, who had spent time travelling and studying the architecture of East Asia. A popular ‘folly’ of the age, it offered one of the earliest and finest bird’s eye views of London
Royal Botatanic Gardens, Kew

The Great Pagoda was completed in only six months. The speed of completion and the quality of construction were points of pride for Chambers; “the walls of the building are composed of very hard bricks…neatly laid, and with such care, that there is not the least crack or fracture in the whole structure, notwithstanding its great height, and the expedition with which it was built”. 80 gilded dragons decorated the roofs of its ten storeys although these had been removed by 1784. The height of the building impressed contemporaries; in 1762, Horace Walpole wrote to a friend, “the Pagoda at Kew begins to rise above the trees and soon you will see it from Yorkshire”.
Wikipedia.

At the time of its construction it was considered so unusual that people were unconvinced it would remain standing. Chambers studied oriental architecture in China, but when he designed Kew’s pagoda he ignored the rules. Pagodas should have an odd number of floors, traditionally seven (rather than ten), believed to represent seven steps to heaven. The Great Pagoda was the most accurate reconstruction of a Chinese building in Europe at the time. It was originally flanked by a Moorish Alhambra and a Turkish Mosque, follies that were all the rage in the great gardens of the time.
Wordl Heritage Journeys

The dragons are back at Kew after more than two centuries, tails curled, wings neatly furled to make them less of a wind catcher, gazing down with glittering eyes on the acres of gardens and thousands of visitors far below. . . . Legends insisted they were made of gem-studded enamelled bronze or even solid gold, and that they were stripped off the pagoda to settle the Prince of Wales’s gambling debts, or to decorate his extraordinary oriental-styled in Brighton. The truth was more boring. Chambers took them off when he restored the building in 1784, because although they looked magnificent, they were made of cheap pine and after a spell of atrocious weather – the Thames froze over in 1783 – they were rotten.

Their replacements, blazing in green, blue, red and gold, guard a secret. The eight at ground level were hand carved from cedar wood, but the 72 dragons on the higher floors were produced on a 3D printer. “The biggest engineering problem we had was attaching the dragons to the roofs,” Putnam said. “They didn’t worry much about health and safety in the 18th century, but the biggest of the printed ones weigh less than 10 kilos, and the wooden ones weigh a quarter tonne – to make them all in wood we’d have had to punch the original structure through and through with steel-reinforcing rods to hold them.”
The Guardian