This Throwback Thursday photograph dates to June 1905 and shows the foundations of the back drive being prepared as rocky crags were set in position by Cheal’s to help reinforce the huge embankment which was made to divert the river Eden from its natural course.
In order to make room for the current Astor Wing, or Tudor Village as it was known, it was necessary to push back the bed of the river some 92 meters to the north of its natural course. Having done this a strong retaining wall was built beneath the artificial river bank to prevent seepage. But in the first winter of these operations a heavy storm, followed by floods, disrupted the original foundations of the Astor Wing. In order to prevent any further chance of seepage or interference from the river a glazed-tile basement was built under the building.
You can read more about our history in the archives.