The Music Room

Sun Street, Lancaster - Sleeps 2

About this Landmark

This is a garden pavilion from about 1730 with a Baroque interior of the highest order, in a lively pedestrian square in historic Lancaster.

Beds 1 Double

  • Sleeps2
  • 4 nights from from£209
  • equivalent to £26.13 per person per night

A fine building marooned

The Music Room had been well known for years as a building in distress, only fragments were left after its great house disappeared. It had a temporary roof and many broken windows; most of its plasterwork had fallen, but luckily almost all of it was still in the building.

Be inspired by the Muses

The plasterwork of the Music Room itself took 6,000 hours of work to repair. It is an exceptional Baroque interior, where you may now sleep as well as play the baby grand piano (though we cannot always guarantee its tuning). On the walls are the Muses: eloquence, history, music, astronomy, tragedy, rhetoric, dancing, comedy and amorous poetry; with Apollo over the fireplace. A fruitful goddess with a torch presides over the ceiling. One Muse had vanished entirely and was recreated by the plasterers from Sutton Coldfield as a modern girl, big and busty, with a cheerful eye; she makes an excellent Muse of dancing.

From the bathroom, you have a fine view of Lancaster Castle, and there is a small roof terrace.

Lancaster is a fine town

We turned the loggia beneath into a shop; it did not seem sensible to leave this large space lifeless and empty in the middle of a town. In front, a lively pedestrian square has sprung up. Lancaster is a fine town, with many things worthy of attention, not least Rennie’s monumental aqueduct on the Lancaster Canal, bridging the River Lune like a vestige of imperial Rome.

Floor Plan

‘The Music Room is like an inside out wedding cake.’

‘Upstairs wraps you like a warm blanket; downstairs, you sleep like royalty.’

From the logbook

Map & local info

The Music Room stands in the middle of Lancaster, the gateway to the Lake District. The building graces a small square which has a good coffee shop.

The Music Room
Sun Street, Lancaster - Sleeps 2
Clear directions

Places to visit nearby

Lancaster Castle

Lancaster Maritime Museum

Judges Lodging

Lancaster Priory

Statesman Railway

Lancaster City Museum

‘The Music Room is like an inside out wedding cake.’

‘Upstairs wraps you like a warm blanket; downstairs, you sleep like royalty.’

From the logbook

Your questions answered

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    No.
  • How is the property accessed?

    From the street. 
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Lancaster – 0.5 miles.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    Yes – there is one parking space (chained off area) in front of the Music Room.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There are electric night storage heaters, convector heaters and a gas fire in the sitting room.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is also an electric cooker.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a shower over a bath.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    Yes, the stairs are steep, narrow and spiral.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is a roof terrace.

    Booking and Payment

  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!
  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will advise you as to whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to carry out the changeover then we consider that it is open and available. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, which may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking.

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Is it true there are no televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there lavatory rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide lavatory rolls and a bar of soap, per basin but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.

Built as a garden pavilion

Like so many Landmarks, plenty of questions remain unanswered about the Music Room. It was built in about 1730 as a garden pavilion, probably for Oliver Marton, a prosperous lawyer of the Middle Temple, London. He lived at 76 Church Street, Lancaster, an early 18th century house, which he had purchased in 1723. As well as a garden behind this house, he owned a much larger one behind the Sun Inn on the opposite side of the street.

We do not know who the architect was for the Music Room. Oliver Marton was on friendly terms with Edward Harley, the 2nd Earl of Oxford (his will records that Lady Oxford gave him a present of a silver cup), and although there is no evidence for it, this aristocratic connection may account for the unexpected sophistication of the Music Room. Marton died in 1744 and the house and its gardens were inherited by his eldest son Edward, who remained a bachelor until his death in 1758 when the property passed to his youngest and only surviving brother, the Rev. Dr Oliver Marton, who was vicar of Lancaster and squire of Capernwray Hall.

The Music Room was almost certainly not built for listening to music - indeed its name is probably a corruption of ‘Muses Room’ as the nine Muses decorate the walls. Instead, it would have been used simply as an outdoor sitting room from which to view the garden, and also possibly to watch the playing of bowls (a bowling green is marked on a map dated 1776). Being on the first floor it would allow family and guests to look down onto a comparatively formal garden which was still the fashionable style in the early 18th century, before the arrival of ‘natural’ theories of landscaping when such formal gardens were swept away all over England, and with them very often such similar summerhouses.

We are also not sure who was responsible for executing such splendid plasterwork but a strong contender is the ‘stuccadoro’, Francesco Vassalli, who is known to have been working at other houses in Lancashire in the 1730s. The uncertainty remains because such Italian craftsmen often worked as partners in a team and it is equally possible that Vassalli’s assistant, Quadri, or the Franchini brothers were responsible. Zeus and Mnemosyne’s nine daughters grace the walls - the Muses: Calliope (eloquence), Clio (history), Euterpe (music), Urania (astronomy), Melpomene (tragedy), Polyhymnia (rhetoric), Terpsichore (dancing), Thalia (comedy) and Erato (amorous poetry). Apollo presides over the fireplace and Ceres commands the ceiling.

After Dr Marton’s death, the garden overlooked by his Music Room was sold for development and by the end of the 18th century there were plots that went right up to its walls. During the 19th century the Music Room was owned by the Seward family, who ran a stained glass, leaded lights and ironworks business in Sun Street that had been established in 1778. Despite the first floor being used at one stage as the local Masonic lodge, the Music Room declined from 18th century elegance into 19th century industrial mire and it was used as a factory. When A Seward and Co. went into liquidation in 1934, the Misses Seward bought a parcel of land which included the Music Room. Eventually the site, including several buildings, was bought by the Willans in the 1950s and they were the owners when the Landmark Trust first heard of the property in the early 1970s.

Considered by Pevsner to be the finest interior in Lancaster

The Music Room was in an appalling condition when it came to Landmark. Nikolaus Pevsner in his Buildings of England series fumed about the condition of what he considered the finest interior in the town - 'The main room inside was on the first floor - was, because it is now so decayed that there can be no hope of saving it. It is a disgrace for a town like Lancaster. ... It is no good saying more. In a few years it will all have disappeared.'

One reason it was so decayed is that the Music Room had other buildings hard up against it on all four sides and was reached by walking through the toy warehouse of which it formed a part. Landmark had to buy all these, which took several years, and demolish them before the builders could gain access. The building had a temporary roof, many of the windows were broken and even the fine facade had a lean-to building half covering it. Working with architect Edward Mason of Charles B Pearson Son & Partners of Lancaster and Thompson and Jackson, our builders, we set about a comprehensive repair programme.

The stone work on the front had to be extensively repaired and then cleaned. The roof was renewed and the side and back walls repointed. There was evidence for at least three different types of glazing bar for the windows, and we settled on the oldest, a thick one typical of the early 18th century style. There were three windows at attic level - we enlarged one, unblocked the second and moved the position of the third. The parapet was also rebuilt. The ground floor loggia was made into a shop by glazing the central Ionic arch, and removing an inserted floor, to introduce a gallery instead.

Inside, the stairs were renewed and new accommodation was created in the attic with new doors and partitions throughout. In the Music Room itself a new oak floor was laid, a marble hearth inserted, and the door and panelling all fireproofed. Lighting was concealed behind the cornice. The plasterwork of the Music Room, an exceptional Baroque interior, took 6,000 hours of work to repair and for this we used a specialist firm, Allied Guilds of Sutton Coldfield. Wherever possible the fallen fragments were reused, with carefully matched new sections where it was not possible. One of the nine Muses, Terpsichore, had completely disappeared and so our plasterers recreated her from scratch. She is described by our late historian, Charlotte Haslam, as 'a modern girl, big and busty, with a cheerful eye.'

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

QuestionWhat's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.