In the world where the new, modern and contemporary is replacing the old, historic and valuable, makes us love the remaining abandoned romantic ruins even more than we already do. By now, you are familiar with our mild obsession with lavish chateaus, those grandiose castles that stand lonely and neglected left to the mercy of nature, and we know that most of you feel the same way as we do. One of these, splendorous ruins is Miranda Castle, the astonishing 19th Century neo-Gothic castle in Celles, province of Namur, Belgium, the marvelous chateau that has enchanted us since the first photo we saw of her, years ago.
The castle was built in 1866 by the English architect Edward Milner under commission from the Liedekerke-De Beaufort family, who had left their previous home, Vêves Castle, during the French Revolution. However, Milner died before the castle was finished. Construction was completed in 1907 after the clock tower was erected.
Their descendants remained in occupation until World War II. A portion of the Battle of the Bulge took place on the property, and it was during that time, the castle was occupied by the Nazis.
In 1950, Miranda Castle was renamed “Château de Noisy” when it was taken over by the National Railway Company of Belgium (NMBS/SNCB) as an orphanage and also a holiday camp for sickly children. It lasted as a children’s camp until the late 1970’s.
The castle has stood empty and completely abandoned since 1991 because the costs to maintain it were too great, and a search for investors in the property failed. Although the municipality of Celles has offered to take it over, the family has refused, and the enormous building is now (as of 2015) in a derelict state, succumbing to decay and vandalism. Parts of the structure were heavily damaged in a fire and many areas of the ceiling are collapsing
Our good friend Kenneth Provost from Urbex Photography, who lives in the same country with the crumbling marvel and shares the love for this amazing castle, informed us that the possibility of demolishing Noisy Chateau is very real.
Although there is really no news in English about demolishing the castle, Provost translated a French article that clearly states the castle indeed is going to be demolished.
Starting from July 2015, a demolition permit was in the possession of the owner of the building, Liedekerke Beaufort County. ‘I was very surprised when I found out about this’, says Alain Maes, of the Aresno Association, which campaigns for the preservation of the castle of Noisy. The news has gone totally unnoticed… Houyet college has followed the opinion of the official delegate of the Walloon Region brought in to look into the matter. “We took the position that one should take from the case, issues such as security. Remember that it is a private and non-public property and that there are a lot of intrusions… We have taken our precautions”, says the Mayor, Yvan Petit (PS). The Castle fell into ruins and constitutes a real danger for all those who enter illegally. It is for this reason that the owner began the process of demolition two years ago.
But the true lovers of the castle didn’t care about anything except saving the fairy tale castle from demolition and managed with protests and petitions to save Chateau Noisy for one year.
But the costs for its restoration are excessive: we are talking about a sum estimated to be between 15 and 25 million euros. ASBL then started looking for private investors ready for example to transform the place into a hotel-restaurant. But two years later, no serious proposal was apparently able to be proposed to the County. And now, the castle is more protected by the Walloon Region. The owner, therefore, has scope to bring down the building. However, the demolition work has not yet started, and we can just hope that in the meanwhile someone will do something to save and preserve this beautiful marvel.
All photos by Kenneth Provost.
Check more of Kenneth Provost’s amazing work here.