The Life & Times
Even as the park came back to life after the Second World War, The Towers themselves lay in ruins with only a small fraction still in use. In 1973 however an extra part of the house reopened to the public when the Planetarium opened in the central chamber of the house conservatory.
Whilst the new attraction no doubt helped save the conservatory from further decay, the supporting infrastructure of a flat felted roof above a poured concrete floor was somewhat at odds with the Gothic surroundings of the Towers. But that was nothing compared to what occurred within the 20ft dome inside, where guests were transported into outer space, a million miles away from a mansion in Staffordshire.
The attraction offered a six minute tour around the universe, courtesy of a projector mounted at the centre of the room. Your trip was accompanied by soaring music to create the atmosphere, whilst narration was provided by none other than Sir Patrick Moore.
Nearby, and slightly closer to Earth, there was also a Camera Obscrua installed in the Towers Complex, offering stunning projected views of the surrounding gardens and countryside.
What Happened Next...
The Planetarium entertained guests within the Towers for more than a decade until 1987 when the attraction quietly closed its doors for the final time.
Over the next twenty years the conservatory was left largely abandoned until 2007 when restoration work over the following years finally saw the flat roof of the Planetarium removed to be replaced by a replica of the glass roof that would have graced the room when the house was still occupied.
With the roof reinstated, in 2011 the room returned to public use and is now often used for the queue of the park's mazes during Scarefest. Most notably, the area once occupied by the Planetarium was used for the preshow of The Sanctuary from 2012 to 2014.
But the story didn't end there... and if you know where to look you can still see traces of the planetarium to this day. The paint on the floor of the conservatory still shows signs of the layout of the attraction and a channel cut into the concrete shows where power once led to the projector at the centre of the room.
Indeed the projector itself also did not leave the Towers after the attraction closed and re-emerged a decade later during the construction of Oblivion. Today the remains of the Planetarium's projector can be found as part of the sculpture in the dive coaster's queueline.