Swarkestone Pavilion (Rolling Stones album cover)

 

Here I am at Swarkestone Hall Pavilion, a 17th-century Jacobean-style pavilion 200 metres north of the ruins of Swarkestone Hall, Swarkestone, Derbyshire.

 

I was driving down to Derbyshire to find a specific grave but I departed from the fastest route to specifically see if I could find this quirky building. I love The Rolling Stones music and this building is on the front cover of their compilation album Hot Rocks 1964–1971.

 

I struggled to find it though. I was driving up and down a semi-rural road expecting to see the usual brown signs that guide people to stately homes. By luck I spotted it; I was whizzing down a road when I saw what I thought were big blobs of ice cream skimming across the sky (think they’re called cupolas) and slammed on the brakes. I did U turn and drove onto a private road leading up to a farm. You don’t drive up to the pavilion but arrive at it sneakily from behind.

 

The building is beautiful but disappointingly narrow. I was expecting some sort of stately home the size of Wembley stadium. I pulled up near the farm just as the farmer was passing in a truck. He eased to a crawling pace and gave me the flinty look farmers save for strangers on their land. However as soon as he saw I was a geek with camera he continued onto the farm house.

 

I got out and had a wander around. This building went up in Shakespeare’s time and was probably built to celebrate the marriage of Sir John Harpur and his wife Catherine Howard (they lived at the adjacent Swarkestone Hall.) Nobody really know its purpose but it was probably a banqueting house. There’s a field in front of the building and nobody knows what this was for - the walls suggest livestock were kept in it. I would have looked in windows but there was a car parked outside.

 

The Swarkstone estate fell into decline and demolished around 1750. In 1844 the pavilion was struck by lightning. The cupolas were repaired but the pavilion fell into dereliction some time afterwards.

 

I was only here because of The Rolling Stones. In June 1968 they had a photo shoot here for their album Beggar's Banquet however it was released in a different sleeve. The Stones are southern people so, as I walked around, I wondered how they came to have their photos taken here in the countryside in rural Derbyshire. I looked at the corner of the field when the Stones had some photos taken playing ad hoc game of cricket. This was early Stones when Brian Jones was still alive.

 

The Landmark Trust bought the pavilion in 1985 for approximately £100,000 and now you can stay there. Please use this link…

 

http://www.landmarktrust.org.uk/search-and-book/properties/swarkestone-pavilion-12474

 

 

 

In 1968 and 2016…

 

 

The building is quite narrow….pointing to where the boys are playing cricket…

 

The view from the pavilion onto the field…

 

 

Goodbye Swarkstone Pavilion…