From The Devon Weekly Times
15 November 1901:
DEVON MANSION BLOWN UP
"Egremont House, (a name used locally for Silverton Park) situated about half a mile from Silverton, stands on an acre of ground. It has 150 rooms and has been unoccupied for more than 40 years.
It was built 60 years ago by Lord Egremont, who only occupied it for about four years, when he died without seeing the completion of the massive undertaking. The place has been the scene of a great deal of interest for some months past. To complete the structure a fortune would have to be spent, and as a result it has fallen into the hands of Messrs. Atkins and Taylor of Exeter, who are demolishing it and making what money they can out of the materials. Handsome marble mantelpieces have fetched nearly £50 each.
Messrs. Atkins and Taylor, on Wednesday, blew up the front of the house with dynamite. A large number of people were present, including several photographers. The blasting was timed for 3 o'clock. It was twenty minutes to four, however, before the twenty - odd charges of dynamite laid within and around some of the foundation pillars were declared ready to be fired. The crowd which had congregated around the mansion as soon as the word was given that the preparations were perfected, scattered to right and left, and formed a ring around the mansion where they stood in wonderment, and it was hoped in safety, to watch the impending catastrophe, by which the front of the great mansion passed suddenly from the view.
A trying scene followed. At a given signal a workman lighted the end of each fuse simultaneously and then hurried from the spot to await events. Instead of the whole pile taking an upward flight, as many expected, nothing resulted from the effort, further than some four or five sharp cracks, a spit of fire, and the detachment of some blocks of masonry. Some of the dynamite charges had not exploded and others had misspent. Interest in the event waned and excitement died down at this palpable failure. But the telling trial was yet to be consummated.
After a sufficient wait, the workmen cautiously crept back to the building, recharged the orifices with dynamite and again ignited the fuses, retiring as before to a safe distance. Presently the crack of artillery was heard, smoke issued in puffs from different parts of the mansion and presently one pillar after another fell to the ground with a resounding crash, and from the debris ascended clouds of dust which could have been seen for miles around. A gloomy place before, it now looked the acme of desolation when the dust and smoke had sufficiently cleared to give a view of it. The housebreakers and staff had done their best, but their best was not quite good enough, for parts of the mansion still remained intact.
The third attempt which immediately followed, though it dislodged more of the building, miscarried in its full purpose, but the place was fairly knocked to pieces. Messrs, Taylor and Atkins will probably bring their smashing operations to a final close a few days later."