Friday Fun: Abandoned, Pulled Down and Restored

Let me introduce you today to homes of famous writers or artists, which no longer function as homes. In most cases, they’ve been pulled down to make way for progress, but not before bankrupting their owners.

Bowens Court, Ireland, home of Elizabeth Bowen.
Bowens Court, Ireland, home of Elizabeth Bowen, visited by Virginia Woolf. Bowen couldn’t afford the bills and sold it; it was demolished in 1961.
Haddon Hall in Beckenham, where David Bowie lived in a commune-like environment in the early 1970s, one of his most productive and creative periods. It was demolished to make way for a road and a block of flats.
Haddon Hall in Beckenham, where David Bowie lived in a commune-like environment in the early 1970s, one of his most productive and creative periods. It was demolished to make way for a road and a block of flats.
Franco-Romanian writer Anne de Noailles spent a part of each year in Evian, where she ran a salon popular with all the great French writers of the period. Although a street and a secondary school in Evian now bear her name, the villa itself no longer exists.
Franco-Romanian writer Anne de Noailles spent a part of each year in Evian, where she ran a salon popular with all the great French writers of the period. Although a street and a secondary school in Evian now bear her name, the villa itself no longer exists.
George Simenon's house near Lausanne, known (NOT affectionately) as 'the Bunker' by the locals, has just been torn down to make way for a new luxury residential development. Simenon had designed the house himself and was extremely security-conscious.
George Simenon’s house near Lausanne, known (NOT affectionately) as ‘the Bunker’ by the locals, has just been torn down to make way for a new luxury residential development. Simenon had designed the house himself and was extremely security-conscious.
The house in which Ray Bradbury lived for 50 years in LA was bought by a star architect in 2015 and torn down to make way for a new building.
The house in which Ray Bradbury lived for 50 years in LA was bought by a star architect in 2015 and torn down to make way for a new building.
This masterpiece of 1970 architecture by Mark Bernstein in Charlotte, NC, aka 'the house that fell to earth' was also torn down to make way for a more modern and bland building.
This masterpiece of 1970 architecture by Mark Bernstein in Charlotte, NC, aka ‘the house that fell to earth’ was also torn down to make way for a more modern and bland building.

Fortunately, some houses escaped this fate, even though the owner had to sell them to pay off debts. Alexandre Dumas, for instance, overreached himself when he built a magnificent chateau (known as the Chateau de Monte-Cristo) just outside Paris, including a little island with the most ambitious ‘writing shed’ in history.

Surrounded by its own little moat, the Chateau d'If writing studio was another typical Dumas extravaganza. in 1969 the house was scheduled for demolition and a large housing development was going to take its place. However, the local villages and an 'Alexandre Dumas Friends Association' managed to band together and save it.
Surrounded by its own little moat, the Chateau d’If writing studio was another typical Dumas extravaganza. in 1969 the house was scheduled for demolition and a large housing development was going to take its place. However, the local villages and an ‘Alexandre Dumas Friends Association’ managed to band together and save it.

 

21 thoughts on “Friday Fun: Abandoned, Pulled Down and Restored”

    1. While researching this picture, I found so many pictures of other stately homes which were demolished (the 1960s and 70s seem to have been particularly vicious decades) because the owners couldn’t afford them anymore.

  1. Except maybe for the bunker, what a pity, and good thing delightful Chateau d’If was spared! Reading about all this demolishing sounds extravagant when you live in Italy where nothing ever gets demolished – even obvious eyesores last forever just because they’ve “always been there”: nobody dares change anything …

  2. I love all the buildings and history you’ve shared! The story I’m working on is about a town hidden from the eyes of present day people, it looks abandoned. But to a few select persons, it’s a living beautiful place. I’ll be using some of these for ideas! Thanks for sharing.

  3. There’s a few of these that I’m not too sorry have gone – in fact, I might have volunteered to help pull down Simenon’s! But Haddon Hall looks like it would have been worth saving even without the Bowie connection…

  4. I like them all except Simenon house which was really ugly and what a shame that they were pulled down. The picture of the house where David Bowie lived and created particularly evokes another age without being a ‘classic’ mansion.

  5. Ah, you can have the Dumas shed. Yes it is lovely but I have all of nature just outside my door and minutes away the Mediterranean. What more could one ask for? Thank you Marina, they were delightful to see and I am glad the Dumas estate was rescued. It says a lot about those who would destroy national treasures for…

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