Column to Liberty

Visitors looking towards the Column to Liberty at Gibside, Tyne & Wear

When George Bowes inherited Gibside, the vision was always to impress.

So it was no surprise that he commissioned a 43m (141ft) high tower on his newly landscaped grounds. 

Although there are no records to prove that Daniel Garrett was the Column's architect, as Daniel worked extensively on other buildings at Gibside, he was most likely the top choice for the job.

" Mr Bowes is at present upon a work of great magnificence, which is the erecting a column of above 140 feet high..."
- Edward Montagu, in correspondence with his wife in the mid-1800s

At the time Bowes’ tower was second only in height to the Monument to the Great Fire of London 
(62m (202 ft). 

When completed in the mid-18th century, the Column to Liberty could be seen for many miles through the Derwent and Tyne valleys. As a reminder that George, was a very important man indeed. 

At the top, a female figure (once gilded) representing Liberty holds the Staff of Maintenance and Cap of Liberty – a proclamation of George Bowes’ political support of the Whig Party.

Nowadays, the Column to Liberty undergoes quinquennial inspections, to ensure that 'Liberty' remains stable and safe., watching over us all.

" The column is of the Tuscan variety and so tall that it might well stand in the most ambitious of London squares."
- Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: County Durham, 1953