This photograph dates to 1903 and shows the beginning of William Waldorf Astor’s restoration as the entire castle is shrouded in a network of scaffolding. Astor first saw Hever Castle in July 1901 with Lord Ronald Gower and his ‘adopted son’ Mr Hird. Astor fell in love with the property and on 27th July 1903 he purchased the castle from Edmund Gustavus Bloomfield Meade-Waldo.
In September 1903 Astor’s architect, Frank Loughborough Pearson, began work within Hever Castle. Thompson’s of Peterborough carried out the repairs and restoration of the castle, using 748 men to carry out the work. The workmen were not allowed to use modern planes, only the adze and the chisel. By October 1906 William Waldorf Astor was able to spend his first night in the castle.
Background information about William Waldorf Astor:
William Waldorf Astor, the richest man in America, purchased Hever Castle in 1903. Upon the death of his father in early 1890, Astor inherited a personal fortune that made him the richest man in America. He grew increasingly disenchanted with America announcing that it was ‘no longer a fit place for a gentleman to live’ and in 1891 moved to England with a reputed $100 million.
Read more about the history of Hever Castle.