NZ4250 : Seaham Hall Hotel & 'Charybdis'

taken 9 years ago, near to Seaham, County Durham, Great Britain

Seaham Hall Hotel & 'Charybdis'
Seaham Hall Hotel & 'Charybdis'
I had walked on a footpath at the rear of the Hall last October NZ4250 : The rear of Seaham Hall Hotel and from my research knew that this water feature was at the front. Nothing prepared me for how amazing it actually is. It is huge, has impressive energy and incredible beauty. The vortex dynamically swirls from the bottom of the container, and the whole surface rotates in a colossal whirlpool. You can climb up and look down inside. It's hard to resist the urge to drop something in to see where it would go but this is a select establishment and they might have CCTV. It would also upset the filtration system needed to keep the water clean. A static photo cannot do this thing justice and certainly gives no sense of the huge sound and energy that accompanies your visit. One of the many wonder of County Durham.
'Charybdis' by artist William Pye is a water sculpture installed in front of Seaham Hall Hotel in 2000.
The sirens Charybdis and Scylla resided in the Sicilian Sea. Homer tells us that because Charybdis had stolen the oxen of Hercules, Zeus struck her with a thunderbolt and changed her into a whirlpool whose vortex swallowed up ships.
In Charybdis the circular movement of water inside a transparent acrylic cylinder forms an air-core vortex in the centre. Steps wrap around the cylinder and allow spectators to view the vortex from above. The cylinder was manufactured in Grand Junction, Colorado.
See LinkExternal link for this and other works of William Pye
Article in the blog, 'Travelogue of an Armchair Traveller' LinkExternal link

Seaham Hall
Seaham Hall was the home of two very important families both locally and nationally, the Millbankes and the Londonderrys LinkExternal link

The Hall was built by Sir Ralph Milbanke, a Whig MP and Baronet, in 1792. His daughter, Anne Isabella LinkExternal link married the poet, Lord Byron in the Hall in 1815. Byron is said to have written 'The Siege of Corinth' and part of 'The Hebrew Melodies' there and the village road is still known as 'Lord Byron's Walk' LinkExternal link. The marriage was not a happy one and ended within a year. His unfortunate wife was later ridiculed in one of Byron's poems as 'Lady Millpond'.

Byron does not seem to have enjoyed his time at Seaham. In a letter to a friend, he complained; 'Upon this dreary coast we have nothing but county meetings and shipwrecks; and I have this day dined upon fish, which probably dined upon the crews of several colliers lost in the late gales' LinkExternal link

The estates of Seaham and Dalden were sold to Lord Charles Stewart, the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry. Together with his coal heiress wife, Frances Anne Vane Tempest LinkExternal link he developed the port at Seaham Harbour with rail connections to the coal mines. It was designed to rival Sunderland.
In 1922, the 7th Marquess of Londonderry deserted the Hall and gave it to Durham County Council who used it as a hospital until 1978. Its later use as a private nursing home ended in 1995.

Seaham Hall along with its 'Serenity Spa' is now a luxury five star hotel LinkExternal link

For more details see the Seaham history site LinkExternal link
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NZ4250, 87 images   (more nearby )
  (find more nearby)
Date Taken
Friday, 12 February, 2010   (more nearby)
Saturday, 13 February, 2010
Accommodation > Hotel   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NZ 4207 5056 [10m precision]
WGS84: 54:50.8851N 1:20.7808W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NZ 4206 5060
View Direction
SOUTH (about 180 degrees)
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