The Tower of Beauty and Friendship

On a recent day out in Ambleside we ventured up to Sweden Bridge to attempt to find the Tower of Beauty and Friendship in the grounds of Eller How. Friends had mentioned this landmark and I was particularly interested because of its links to Anne Clough, as well as many other well known literary figures.

After a couple of false starts we found the Tower of Friendship and Beauty. It is only visible up a fairly steep pathway and over a wall. We are sure that, after you pass through the gate onto a very rocky path, that we were on a coffin road.


The Tower is so interesting. It was built in the grounds of Eller How by Henry Boyle in the late Nineteenth century. Boyle commemorated his guests at Eller How in a unique fashion: their names and the year of their visit were inscribed into damp cement laid on the face of bricks, which were then incorporated into the fabric of the tower. The Tower of Beauty and Friendship mainly records female visitors, but William Wordsworth (son or grandson?) and Matthew Arnold's names are inscribed on the Tower.

I am most interested in Harriet Martineau and Anne Clough's names. Anne Clough, the sister of the poet Arthur Hugh Clough, had moved to Ambleside in 1852 to run a school at Eller How. Her venture was extremely successful and Anne Clough gathered many children to her school. Amongst them was the daughter of Thomas Arnold, and niece of Matthew Arnold, Mary Arnold, the future novelist Mrs Humphry Ward.

It was so interesting to see the Tower and to remember all of the notable visitors to Eller How. It's rather sad that it is mostly forgotten and overlooked, so I'm really glad that we found the Tower and enjoyed its connections to many literary figures.