The Castle of Noisy - Miranda
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First Belgian Explorations...
Back in 2004, deep within the passionate online forums I first discovered the Castle of Noisy. A haunting vision, existing as if it was plucked directly from the tale of Sleeping Beauty. It had everything to please me and was still relatively intact at that time, except for the stolen floorboards and it's ageing décor, now sadly infested with dry rot.
Over the years I saw the castle decay, little by little, slowly turning into a ruin. Time, arsonists and looters causing substantial damage over the last ten years.
Now, in the beginning of 2014, the castle is about to be demolished.
People around the globe are upset, angry, petitions to save the building have failed and campaigns within the media have fallen upon deaf ears. It's probably a little bit too late, past the point of no return.
A noble cause? In the meantime the respectable castle continues to sit, awaiting it's fate, slowly dying.
A Third Life?
The crossing of the ways. From yesterday to tomorrow.
Noisy will have welcomed noble individuals as well as the homeless.
What would the aristocrat have thought? He who, after his expulsion from the neighbouring château by the sans-culottes, consoled himself by building this immense neo-Gothic edifice ?
Château Miranda would suffer the vagaries of the times it lived through.
Beginning with its construction. Despite a century of work, it was never completed as planned.
But not matter - its majesty, its lofty clock tower, its 550 windows, and richly decorated rooms, all in parquet and marble, demand respect.
The family of Count Liedekerke de Beaufort were not ashamed to stay there during their summer vacations.
This residence draws attention.
The best as well as the worst.
So, during the war, it was used as a residence by the occupying Germans.
Conflicts do not last forever.
They fade just like privileges and refinements soften the traces of old habit.
A decade after t he liberation, the château was used as a holiday camp by a hundred children of Belgian National Railway Company workers.
The ancient fountain served as a pool for novice swimmers.
But the building found it hard to adapt to its turbulent occupants.
Twenty years caring for children.
Is that enough?
The contract binding the property to the BNRC was renewed, the count reclaimed his property and the property for its calm.
For a while.
For the days when you could keep such a building to yourself have well and truly gone.
Monsieur de Beaufort was once again obliged to rent out his castle.
Seminars, special interests classes, film location...
Noisy became a burden, a worry.
In 1990, lacking takers and financial help, the Count could no longer guarantee the maintenance of his property.
He cleared out.
This time it would be taken over by squatters, vandals, and thieves.
Fires, looting, in just a few years château Miranda turned into a ruin, a shell emptied of its contents.
And you can bet that the clock, now stopped, will never start up again.
Text and photos taken from the book "Forbidden Places: exploring our abandoned heritage"