Sunday, 2 August 2009

Hamilton Mausoleum

The Hamilton Mausoleum is located in Hamilton in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. The Mausoleum was built for Alexander the 10th Duke of Hamilton (1767-1852), and took 15 years to complete from it's commencement in 1842.

-It was built with out using any mortar, just brick stacked on brick.

-The Mausoleum has actually sunk 18 feet since it was first built, thus leaving it prone to flooding.

-The 10th Duke of Hamilton's body was to occupy not a coffin, but an Egyptian sarcophagus. However, when the sarcophagus arrived it measured 6' tall and the Duke measured 6'2"-6'4" tall. Various accounts have his legs being cut off, folded over or smashed with a sledgehammer. Any road, it was a tight squeeze.

- Alexander was a Master Mason. The mausoleum is still used by the Freemasons for Masonic ceremonies.

The lower level of the Mausoleum is the crypt where the corpses were kept, until the building was deemed too structurely unstable to house them any longer. All the bodies have been interred elsewhere.

As you can see by this picture there are three gates leading into the crypt. The gate on the left signifies 'life', the middle is 'death' and the last one is 'immortality'. At the time of a interment the mourners would walk through 'the gate of life' the coffin would be carried through 'the gate of death' and the entire party would leave through 'the gate of immortality'.

Here is a close up of the faces life, death and immortality (respectively). Note the rate of decay on each of them...

The upper level is the chapel, where the 10th Duke of Hamilton's sarcophagus was kept. The pedestal is still there on which it sat and you can still see an eerie outline of the sarcophagus on the black marble. In the chapel there is an reverberation time of 15 seconds (when the old brass doors were still there it was 30 seconds). The chapel is also noted for it's 'whispering walls'. These are alcoves where two people can stand either side, whisper into the wall and are able to hold a conversation this way. We tested this out and it worked perfectly, even with all the noisy echo's going on!

With in the past month the South Lanarkshire council has erected a locked fence around the premises of the mausoleum to deter vandalism, which was becoming a serious issue. We were told they plan on washing off the unsightly graffiti in the upcoming months.

Please take a look at the other photos I took (of the crypt, ect.) here on flickr.


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