Broomhead Hall, Sheffield.

Copyright © Sheffield City Council.

I remember as a child going on a walk around the Wilson Family estate at Broomhead near to our home in Sheffield. I recall very clearly seeing a stone outline visible though the grass where Broomhead Hall once stood. I also remember seeing what was left of the lavish gardens that once surrounded the house.  I Recall feeling a sense of sadness that such a beautiful house had been demolished and an important part of local history removed. 

There is not much information on Broomhead, what I managed to find, I got from Sheffield library, most of which has been written by local historians rather than academics. Not to say that it is not correct, but information about Broomhead does not seem to appear in any academic literature on the Lost Heritage of Britain, which there is a lot of.

Broomhead Hall was built in 1831, after the previous house had been destroyed by fire.[1]  The Broomhead estate was (and still is) the home of the Wilson family, however, the main hall was demolished in 1980.  Prior to the hall being demolished, it was used to house farm workers and to store potatoes.  It had then been an office for an insurance company as well as being requisitioned by the army during World War II[2] as many other grand houses were. The rumour locally was that the entire house was shipped over to America.  However, from my research I could only locate a staircase[3], a carved oak sideboard dated 1601, and a long oak table dated 1588, all Wilson family heirlooms, that were shipped to America.[4] Some other items from the house are now on display at Bishops’ House in Norton Lees in Sheffield.[5]  As for the fate of the stone, that still remains a mystery, but local forums say that it was used locally. 

Broomhead was not alone in it’s fate, over 1200 country houses have been demolished in England since the year 1900 and in the period between the two world wars, over five percent of country houses were demolished. [6] Looking back on this now, this is hard to believe. Imagine demolishing Chatswoth, it would be unthinkable. Prior to the 1960s, attitudes were different towards country houses and the aristocracy in general. The public felt little or no empathy for the struggles of the landed elite and the sales and demolishment of country houses was not of great public concern. I think now we generally feel very different towards country houses, regardless to attitudes towards the aristocracy, I think most can appreciate that country houses are an important part of the history and heritage of our nation.

If you are interested, the ruins of Sutton Scardsale Hall and Errwood Hall can be seen up close.


[1] Booth, J., Bygones of Bradfield Volume 2, 1988. Sheffield: Hilltop Press, p 54.

[2] Booth, J., 1988,p 55.

[3] Branston, J., Pennine People & Places – Stocksbridge & District War Memorial History of Stocksbridge – Volume Two, 1980. N.P. PP25.         

[4] Branston, J., 1980.

[5] Bishops’ House. Available Online: https://www.bishopshouse.org.uk/

[6] Hunter, M., Preserving the past: the rise of heritage in modern Britain (Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1996) p 99.

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