Lambton Castle & the Lamb Bridge

Sadly, neither Joseph’s nor William’s ideas would ever come to fruition as William died in 1801. When John George Lambton came of age in 1813, work re-started under the guidance of Joseph’s son, Ignatius.

New public rooms, private apartments, façade, wing and tower were added to create the Castle, whilst the immediate surrounding area was developed as Pleasure Gardens.

Sadly, the coal which had contributed, to the Lambton family’s wealth would be the undoing of the Castle itself. By the 1860’s, a number of mine shafts under the Park were collapsing. Parts of the building had to be demolished. Architects John Dobson and Sydney Smirke were engaged to re-build the Castle and much of Bonomi’s original work was lost during this time. In the 1930’s further parts were demolished, due to spiralling running costs and two sets of death duties in quick succession, leaving the Castle as we see it today.

During the Second World War the Castle was requisitioned by the army and nearby Biddick Hall became the family’s main residence in the Park. A period as an Adult Education Centre followed for the Castle and it then featured as part of the attractions for the Lambton Lion Park in the 1970’s.

More recently the Castle has been the backdrop to TV programmes and film sets while the grounds regularly play host to a variety of outdoor events and weddings.

Whilst designing the Castle, Ignatius Bonomi also worked on the attractive Lamb Bridge, which with its carved stone lambs spans the River Wear. Originally the bridge was flat; however, with subsequent movement in the riverbank, the bridge now has an almost gothic style arch and is currently being monitored to record any further movement.

To ensure the sustainable future of these iconic structures for generations to come, refurbishment works are being funded from the Lambton Park re-development scheme.