Weekly Architectural Photography Contest - 18th Century Bear Pit

Here is my entry for @juliank weekly architectural photography contest. This photo was taken at Wentworth Woodhouse Gardens in South Yorkshire England. It was built in the late 18th century.

The gardens on this site are breathtaking and boast a large maze & Japanese garden along with many unique architectural details and statues. Most surprising was the presence of a bear pit. My tour thought this pit left me feeling haunted and sad. They don't tell you anything specific about the bear pit so when I got home I spent time digging for the story. I found this information on a historical forum.

The Bear Pit

The Duke of Norfolk opened the grounds in 1836 and charged twenty five shillings entry to the grounds. There were two bears kept in this small pit. A large tree trunk stood in the centre of the pit (it's no longer there) and there were three platforms at different heights so people could observe and throw food to the bears. Allegedly this went on until around 1870 when there was an incident involving a child being clawed to death. There was also a glass house with monkeys, eagles, fox, deer, snakes and many tropical birds.

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This is the stairwell that leads into the pit from the upper entrance & landing. The pit is a small round room, certainly very confining for a human and would have been quite cruel and stark for a bear.

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This is the corridor that leads to the lower entrance of the pit or the "ground level". This would have been barred off.

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This is the lower entrance to the bear pit. Entering here would lead you directly into the pit itself. They have installed terrible yellow lighting so taking photos is difficult but I did my best :).

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wow incredible stonework. kinda sad they trapped them down there, but very impressed with the architecture. thanks for sharing with us :)

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Thanks @mountainjewel, the architecture is amazing. I want to share some pictures of the grounds, statues and mazes as well. Very inspiring. I want gardens like that but don't want to enjoy them in my lifetime :)

I'm not usually claustrophobic, but I think that tunnel or walkway would do me in!

But still a beautiful looking place.

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A lot of the old castles and buildings have teeny corridors, and the stairs are only like half my foot length in depth. I am not claustrophobic but certainly feel like a big giant in these old places ...I am very tall but people used to be really small to fit in these spaces.

Poor bears! It looks too small for one bear let alone two. I certainly wouldn't want to be the bears on attraction.

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It was not a nice energy in that room. I touched the walls and looked carefully at it all to try and understand what it would have been like, I just didn't want to be in there for too long.

Wow! Amazing architecture! I would love to walk through there. :)

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yeah, it was quite interesting. The grounds are spectacular. It was part of a kitchen garden for a large estate.

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I can imagine! I love those old buildings made of stone... Its amazing how long theyve been around and are still sturdy as anything!