The Charm of Château Miranda

Tim Laman of Fort Worth, Texas, sent us this piece about an abandoned architectural gem that has captured his attention. If you too have discovered some wonderful buildings you’d like to share, send their stories along so we can ooh and aah with you. – Jamie

I have always had an interest in historic buildings, but abandoned places seem to have an added draw. During the 1980′s I lived in a small town, and there was an old movie theater on Main Street that was probably 50 years old, but it was obviously abandoned for a long time. On the back side of the building, it looked like someone had driven a truck into the wall and left a gaping hole. I wasn’t brave enough to go in, but I could see the remains of a movie screen hanging in tatters, seats ripped from the floor and pushed into a dust-covered pile, and a broken down popcorn machine. It made me wonder what the theater used to be like when it was new, and what it still could be if only someone cared.

Chateau Noisy

A haunting view of Chateau Miranda/Chateau Noisy Flickr Photo Courtesy Harm Rhebergen

Over the years I’ve explored other abandoned buildings, but these days you really don’t have to go further than online to see them. There are many websites with photos taken by “urban explorers,” and although you can’t believe everything you read, pictures usually don’t lie. It was on one of these websites (abandoned-places.com) a couple of weeks ago that I came across images of something beautiful and utterly unique.

The Château Miranda, later called Chateau Noisy and located near Celles, Belgium, was built in phases circa 1866-1907. Most of the historical accounts I’ve read online seem to copy each other, but sources say the architects were an Englishman named Milner, followed by Pelchner, who was French. The château was built for Count Liedekerke-Beaufort, whose family also still owns the nearby Castle of Veves. The château was used as a private residence for many years, then occupied briefly by the Germans during World War II, and later converted into a home for children. Exactly how long the property has been neglected seems uncertain, but indications are that it has been out of use since 1991.

Chateau Noisy Interior

Crumbling interior gives a glimpse of former glory Flickr Photo Courtesy Harm Rhebergen

The most striking feature of the château is a turreted clock tower which rises some 183 feet (56 meters) above the main house. The entire structure has many towers, conical roofs, and other Neo-Gothic details. It truly is like something out of a fairy tale, but a combination of vandalism, the elements, and deferred maintenance have taken their toll. Most of the 500 windows have been broken; walls, floors and staircases have collapsed; and fire has burned away some upper sections. Mold is a problem in this climate, and trees are growing on the roofs. Although beautifully rendered ceilings and columns still exist inside, they are in constant danger of being permanently lost. The property is privately owned, and the owner seems to be concentrating his efforts on preserving only the Castle of Veves. Some of the posts online allege that hunters in the area try to run off any intruders around the château, and others say that the building is so dilapidated it’s very dangerous to go inside.

What will happen to this place? How can further damage be prevented? In my opinion, it would take raised awareness, an international outcry, organization, and money. Last week I found a Facebook group called “Chateau de Noisy” with 200 members from all over the world, and there is a link there to an online petition which you can sign. The “Helpful Links” section of Adventures in Preservation’s website provides valuable contact information for other organizations all over the world which might be able to help with this cause. And I also decided that if nothing else I can send letters and emails to media outlets, even celebrities, who might be willing to get the word out and initiate some kind of action. My dream is to visit Château Miranda someday and to see it preserved for future generations, but it will take many more voices who care enough to make this dream a reality.

See more of Harm Rhebergen’s photos

 

2014 Update:

A reader sent this link to a petition to save Château de Noisy, whose plight continues to attract attention from around the world.

About Adventures in Preservation

Huge fans of the world's architectural heritage, making it a point to seek out historic buildings wherever we travel. Bloggers include co-founder of Adventures in Preservation, a non-profit organizing historic preservation-based volunteer vacations, and AiP interns.
This entry was posted in Historic Buildings, Historic Preservation and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to The Charm of Château Miranda

  1. Pingback: PreservationNation » Blog Archive » Preservation Round-Up: It’s Brutal Edition

  2. Christina Kets says:

    Op 1 november ben ik naar Kasteel Noisy geweest en heb er vele foto’s genomen. Het is er nog veilig om binnen te komen. Dat hele domein heeft iets. Het is verbaasde mij dat het gebouw zelf nog stevig is maar aan binnenkant moet men dringend iets gaan doen want vandalen slaan daar alles stuk.
    Ik ben nu het Kasteel aan het schilderen want nergens kan je een schilderij vinden van het mooie Noisy.

    Vriendelijke groeten,
    Christina

  3. Susan says:

    Chateau Miranda is an intriguing place. There is so much beauty there even if it is in the state of ruin we see on the web. I so hope someone with the funds to restore it will get involved. I live in the United States and don’t travel much except on my computer BUT if the chateau was to be restsored or even on the way to restoration I would find a way somehow to go there and see it and experience it for myself. It is a fairytale lost – but what is lost can be found again. There are so many very wealthy people in California wouldn’t it be grand if one or a few would take an interest and help this grand old beauty back to it former grandure. Will someone please HELP Chateau Miranda.
    Thanks for reading this and lets find someone who can help.

  4. Pingback: Chateau miranda | Joininghandsca

  5. Victoria says:

    I have viewed many pictures, a you tube video showing how the Chateau looked when it was used as an Orphanage and apparently after the fire. Some pictures show, even in destruction, the magnificent mahogany or maybe black forest curved pillars, walls and coiffured ceilings. What a tragedy that something so exquisite is being so dishonored by it’s owners. Belgium is one of the wealthiest countries in Europe and I do not understand why the owners and the heirs of this property are not being held financially responsible to prevent further deterioration and restore the property. This is such a disgrace against the family and someone in King Philippe of Belgium’s Cabinet should attend to the fact that if Count Liedekerke-Beaufort and his heirs do not take immediate action to repair and restore the property that they should lose it and it be auctioned to the highest bidder or forfeited to the state.

  6. Jack says:

    It will be taken over soon and rebuilt. Not long now.

  7. Sha says:

    This outrages me! This is such a beautiful property with such prominant history. To leave it to be destroyed for no good reason is ridiculous. From the sounds of it there are tons of investors ready to jump on this and make it happen. However the owners will not release it! The owners are the problem not the need for investors.I highly agree with Victorias comment and hope that within the next year there is more public awareness. This is a piece of history that can never be replicated and will be lost if nothing happens soon!

  8. Jean says:

    The link for your petition is invalid, could you please fix it? This is the link https://www.lapetition.be/en-ligne/Sauvegarde-du-Chateau-de-Noisy-13814.html.

    Best regards,

    Jean L.

  9. Meghan says:

    Can anyone visit the castle? Could I just walk in?

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