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.

Angel Island State Park, California.

Angel Island is located in the San Francisco Bay area, just across the water from it’ more famous neighbour, Alcatraz. There is a lot to see on Angel Island, and one day is definitely not enough time, especially if you are on foot.

Getting There

Angel Island is accessed by boat from either Tiburon https://angelislandferry.com/ or Pier 41 https://www.blueandgoldfleet.com/ferry/angel-island/ . We got the ferry from Tiburon as we were staying in Sausalito. There is plenty of parking in the little town, we paid $5 for the day.

Getting Around the Island

Obviously you can not take your car on Angel Island, but you can take a bike, or hire one there. We were on foot but the next time I visit, I will definitely hire a bike as there is not enough time in a day to see everything if you are walking. There are also segway and tram tours that you can take https://angelisland.com/ .

Flora and Fauna

Angel Island has a lot to see and there are things for people with a variety of different interests. For starters, the scenery on the island is incredible, with views of the whole bay area. You can see Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco on a clear day. As well as the beautiful scenery, Angel Island has an array of birds, Canadian Geese, hummingbirds, juncos and scooters to name but a few. There are also many other species of wildlife that inhabit the island, including, raccoons and deer. The island is also home to native and non-native plants. The military planted various trees and shrubs during their time on the island, including Monterey cypress and eucalyptus. Plants native to the island include; Coyote brush and elderberry.

Military

In 1863, the federal government established Camp Reynolds (West Garrison, named after the first officer to fall at Gettysburg) on the island.

In 1899, a quarantine station was established at Fort McDowell in order to isolate troops who had been exposed to contagious diseases while serving overseas.

Immigration

Angel Island was home to one of 19 immigration stations that were established in the early 20th century. Angel Island was the main station for immigrants arriving from the Pacific, mostly Asian, especially Chinese. However, some non-Asian immigrants did pass through (see my post on Ellis Island for immigration from the Atlantic).

Below are a few images that I took whilst on the island. You are free to walk around and have a look at most of the buildings. You cannot go inside a lot of them due to health and safety. There are some buildings that are used to house staff, signposting is not always clear and they tend to shout at people if they get too close. In my personal opinion, the interpretation could be greatly improved. There are interpretation boards dotted around but I think there could be loads more done in terms of telling the story of the island. There is a museum which tells you a lot about the island, but it would be nice for more of the buildings to be open for visitors to look around and to learn about what purpose they served.

Abandoned Military Hospital
Camp Reynolds (West Garrison)

Manzanar War Relocation Center.

I have visited the Owens Valley on Vacation a number of times. My first visit was back in 2012. However, it was not until 2017, that I finally visited Manzanar, after driving past it numerous times.

After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, the U.S. government began making plans for the incarceration of Japanese-Americans. On the 19th of February, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing the evacuation of all persons deemed a threat to national security from the West Coast to relocation centers. The order resulted in over 100,000 Japanese-Americans being removed from their homes and placed in internment camps.

The camps were located in isolated areas where the weather could be burning hot in summer and freezing cold in winter. People had to leave behind their businesses and possessions, taking only what they could carry.

After my visit to Manzanar, I seemed to come across lots of information relating to the persecution of Japanese Americans during World War II. I think after visiting Manzanar and the emotional effect that it had on me, things just caught my eye more. For example, I was watching a documentary on art in San Francisco, and I learnt about the photographs that Dorothea Lange captured of Japanese-Americans, in the early 1940s. Then whilst doing some research for a paper that I was writing for my MA on the California Water Wars, I came across a fascinating book by Karen Piper called Left in the Dust: How Race and Politics Created a Human and Environmental Tragedy in L.A. In short, the book tells the story about how the people and environment of the Owens Valley have suffered since the Los Angeles Aqueduct was built to divert the course of the Owens River in 1913. The fugitive dust from the drying of the Owens Lake caused toxic dust storms in the valley where Manzanar is located, meaning Manzanar detainees were subject to this dust. The dust has been known to cause disease and death among the people that inhaled it. Not only were these poor people forcefully removed from their homes, but they were also subject to toxic dust, from which they could not escape (n.b. at the time Manzanar was in operation, no-one knew the dust was toxic).

By November of 1945, Manzanar was deserted, the war had ended and the Japanese-Americans returned home. However, some people had no home to go back to. It took another 44 years for the US government to apologise to those interned at Manzanar. Camp survivors were given $20,000 by president Ronald Reagan.

Monument marking the cemetery. It was built by internees in 1943.

Prior to the drying of the Owens Lake, the area where Manzanar is located was full of beautiful fruit orchards. The Owens River provided ample irrigation for the growing of produce and the area was named after the Spanish word for apple, ‘manzana’.

Guard Tower
Basketball Court

After the war ended, Manzanar was razed. However, many of the buildings were sold to local residents of the Owens Valley. When Manzanar was preparing to be opened to the public, the NPS attempted to relocate the original buildings. However, they did not have much luck. They did manage to reclaim a building that was at Bishop airport, but many of the buildings that are there today are replicas.

Thanks for reading :).

Around Sheffield

I had planned on visiting Brodsworth Hall this weekend, but with the recent floods and some roads still being closed off, I decided to leave that trip for another time. It was a beautiful November morning and I didn’t feel like driving anywhere, so I picked up my camera and had a walk around Sheffield. This is something I have been meaning to do for a while but I have never got around to doing it. I suppose you take things from granted when they are on your doorstep and as I was walking around, I definitely felt a sense of regret that I had not done this years ago as there are many places that are long gone. I think I will do some more posts on Sheffield at a later date as there are many other places that I want to photograph. But for now, below are a few pictures that I took on Sunday, along with a bit of history about the content of the pictures. I welcome people to correct any errors I may have made, or add any information they may wish in the comments.

Bishops’ House, Meersbrook Park.

Bishops’ House is a Grade II Listed farmhouse located in Meersbrook Park. It is open to the public on weekends only from 10am until 4pm. The house was built in around 1500 and was the home of the Blyth family until 1753.

Meerssbrook Hall

There isn’t a great deal of information on the internet about Meersbrook Hall and unfortunately I don’t have the time to do more detailed research as my Masters dissertation is looming. The Friends of Meersbrook Hall have a great website though, with lots of information and history about the hall. The date of construction seems to be unknown but the website states that, “the earliest documentary evidence of a building at Meersbrook Hall are the notes of William Fairbank, of alterations he made to an existing building in 1759″. A plan of the estate in 1770 shows a single building on the site and in 1819, an extension was added. Meersbrook Hall housed the Ruskin Collection from 1890 to 1953.

A view of the city from Meersbrook Park.
Pinder Bros Ltd, Sheaf Plate Works, Arundel St.

Pinder Brothers have been in operation since 1877, and the company has been run by seven successive generations of the Pinder family for over 140 years. They moved to the above location at Sheaf Plate Works on the corner of Arundel Street and Matilda Street in 1939. There is a more detailed history on their website. I think it’s wonderful that they are still a thriving business and I love that the building probably looks much the same as it did in 1939. The building is also home to other craftsmen and women, who rent out spaces for their trades. There is an article that the Star newspaper did back in 2017, which you can read by clicking here.

Biggins Bros Ltd, building location is on the corner of Arundel Street and Newton Lane.

Sadly, this building looks like it’s derelict. I can’t find a lot of information on Biggins Bros. but the sign on the building states they were established in 1856 and were Electro Platers. From what I can gather, they went out of business in the year 2000.

The Rutland Arms, 86 Brown St, was built in 1936.
Butcher Works, Arundel Street.

Butcher Works is a former cutlery works located on Arundel Street. The works were originally founded by William and Samuel Butcher, who began manufacturing steel in 1819. Today, the buildings are Grade II listed for their architectural and historical significance within the city of Sheffield. The buildings were refurbished as flats and workshops partly due to a £1.2 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. There is a nice cafe located in the works called Fusion Organic Cafe.

More information can be found here https://www.wessexarch.co.uk/our-work/butcher-wheel-sheffield
The old Heeley Railway Station, Chesterfield Road.

I wish Heeley still had a station as it’s just down the road from my house, I believe that this building is now a scrap yard. The station originally opened in 1870, serving the Midland Railway’s line between Chesterfield and Sheffield. It closed on the 10th of June in 1968.

The main entrance to Sheffield Town Hall. The building opened in 1897.
Green Police Box, Surrey St.

This Grade II Listed Police Box is located outside the Town Hall and was installed in 1928, as part of 120 police boxes in Sheffield. It is the only one that remains in Sheffield. More information can be found by clicking here.

The O2 Academy, Arundel Gate, formerly the Roxy. I always wondered what became of the Roxy Disco sign that used to be on the side of the building.

I think this is one of those buildings, like Park Hill Flats that you either love or hate. This may not be the most attractive of buildings, but personally i’m glad it’s still here as much of the old Sheffield is disappearing. In the 1980s and 90s, the Roxy was the biggest club in Sheffield. I remember as a kid seeing the glowing red sign on the side of the building. I’ve not been able to find a lot of history on the building itself, but at one time it was owned by a guy called Barry Noble, who advertised the club with the catchphrase “is that alright fyuzs”. Noble owned other amusement arcades and nightclubs, including the Astoria in Nottingham. He allegedly died in 1985, but there seems to be some ambiguity surrounding his death. The Roxy attracted performers such as Kyle Minogue, Jason Donovan and New Order, who played there in 1987. It was also the location of the TV show, Hitman and Her from 1988 until 1992. The Roxy remained a club until 1998-1999 (I can’t find the exact date). Later in it’s life, the building was home to St. Thomas’ Anglican Church before it became the Carling Academy in 2008, and then the O2 Academy when Telefónica Europe became the new sponsor of all Academy venues.

Statue of Poet, James Montgomery by the Cathedral.

James Montgomery was born in Scotland in 1771, but moved to Sheffield in 1792. He made his name as a poet and achieved some fame with The Wanderer of Switzerland, which he wrote in 1806. He died aged 82 in 1854. I have to admit, I had never heard of him until I took this photograph. If you want more information on James, you can find it by clicking here.

Grade II Listed Buildings at Paradise Square.

I always associate Paradise Square with solicitors offices (most of the buildings are office spaces today), but at one time it a place where people came to hear preachers speak or for public meetings. The Sheffield Society for Constitutional Information formed here in 1791 and it was said to be the only square where all major political meetings of all types were held. More information can be found by clicking here and here.

Physician David Daniel Davis, lived at No. 12, Paradise Square from 1803 to 1812.
West Bar Fire Station.

The West Bar Station was built in 1900, and was home to the police, fire and ambulance services. Today, the building is home to the National Emergency Services Museum. I will do a separate post on this museum sometime in the future.

Woollens for Signs
Woollens for Signs
Woollens for Signs

I’ve seen this building many times as you can’t miss the striking signs located on the side, but I have never looked into what it was. From what I have found, Woollen & Co Ltd was established by sign-writer, James Woollen and lithographic printer, Frederick Ibbotson in 1883. The company moved from this location in 2005, and ceased trading in 2008. I have found a Sheffield company that are trading under the name Woollen Group (website here). Their website states they are formerly Woollen Signs Ltd, but were only established in 2007 so i’m unsure as to if they are the same company. Personally, I think it would be great for this building to be refurbished, keeping the wonderful signage on the front in respect of the past.

The Chimney House, Kelham Island is now an events venue. I can’t seem to find much about this building, If you have any info, let me know in the comments.
Alfred Beckett & Sons Ltd. Brooklyn Works is now residential apartments and offices. The building was declared Grade II Listed in 1985.

Alfred Beckett & Sons Ltd were established in 1839, and were a saw file and tool manufacturers located at Brooklyn Works on Green Lane. In 1967, Alfred Beckett & Sons was purchased by Tempered Spring Company Ltd. Tempered Spring was founded in 1895, as a subsidiary of Laycocks. It seems that they dissolved in 2015.

Alfred Beckett & Sons Ltd. Brooklyn Works is now residential apartments and offices. The building was declared Grade II Listed in 1985.
Alfred Beckett & Sons Ltd. Brooklyn Works is now residential apartments and offices. The building was declared Grade II Listed in 1985.
Wharncliffe Works, Green Lane. Grade II Listed.

Wharncliffe Works was built in c1861 for Steel & Garland, manufacturers of stoves, grates and fenders. If you want to read more, click here.

Sign for Wilson & Murray at Wharncliffe Works.
George Barnsley & Sons Ltd, Cornish Works.
George Barnsley & Sons Ltd, Cornish Works.

George Barnsley & Sons were founded in 1836. They moved to Cornish Works (pictured above) in 1849. Their main focus was the manufacture of files and cutting tools for leather workers and associated industries. Today, they are still in operation, however, they have moved from Cornish Works to Mowbray Street and are a subsidiary of Mowbray Manufacturing Co Ltd. When I walked past Cornish Works it looks like the building is currently being refurbished. I hope they keep the old signage. There are some amazing pictures on the website Behind Closed Doors of the inside the building.

A H Smith & Co. LtdDon Brewery, 4 Penistone Road, Sheffield

All that remains of Don Brewery is this sign. A H Smith & Co. Ltd were founded in 1828. They were acquired by Tennant Brothers Ltd of Exchange Brewery in 1915. A H Smith closed in 1917 and their buildings were sadly demolished in 1994. Tennant Brothers Ltd were Acquired by Whitbread & Co. Ltd in 1961. However, they closed the brewery in 1993. The Exchange Brewery buildings remain, but have been mostly converted to offices.

Paul Waplington ‘Steelworker’, 1986.
W.W. Laycock & Sons Limited. Suffolk Road

W.W. Laycock & Sons Ltd. were silversmiths and suppliers to the metal finishing trade. From what I can gather, they are still operational, but I don’t think they are still in Sheffield. The building above on Suffolk Road is now the premises of Student Roost. There are some great images of what the building looked like before it was refurbished here.

Thomas Boulsover Memorial outside of the Library.

Thomas Boulsover (1705 – 1788) was a Sheffield Cutler who famously stumbled upon a process that became known as Old Sheffield Plate in 1743. He served an apprentice as a cutler until 1726, and in around 1740, set up his own workshop on the corner of Tudor Street and Surrey Street. There is another memorial to Thomas at Whiteley Woods on the hillside between Wire Mill Dam.  

Thanks for reading. Please add any more information, or correct any errors that I may have made in the comments :).

Secret Sheffield

Conisbrough Castle,South Yorkshire.

Conisbrough Castle is located just outside Rotherham in South Yorkshire and is managed by English Heritage. The original Castle was built by William De Warenne, the 1st Earl of Surrey who was the son-in-law of William the 1st (William the Conqueror) sometime in the 11th century . The castle passed to Isabel De Warenne in 1147, and the keep was built by her husband, Hamelin Plantagenet in the late 1170s or 1180s. The castle inspired Sir Walter Scott’s novel, Ivanhoe, published in 1819.

I did not visit, but the nearby Anglican Church of St Peter has stood in Conisborough since the 8th century, and is the oldest standing building in South Yorkshire.

Personally, I always prefer English Heritage places over National Trust, I think it’s because I find ruins more fascinating. I really enjoyed Conisbrough Castle. However, there are a few things to bear in mind if you plan on visiting. Firstly, the parking. I usually look in advance before I travel on what the situation is with parking, but this time I did not. When I arrived at the castle the signposts send you into a privately run car park. I parked up and got my little pot of car park change from my glove box that I keep for such situations. I went to find the machine, but there was not one in sight. The car park requires you to either download an app, or to call and pay by card. Bear in mind that parking is 50p an hour. I thought this seemed like a lot of faff for 50p. I tried scanning the QR code, like the sign said, but nothing happened, so I drove out of the car park and parked on a nearby street. I don’t usually like parking in residential areas as I’ve had bad experiences with people who don’t like you parking in front of their houses, even though you can park where you like as long as there are no parking restrictions, or you aren’t blocking anyone ones access, etc. But, often people get real funny about parking. Anyway, there is plenty of free on street parking, that isn’t outside anyone’s house, if you don’t mind a short walk to the castle. If the car park was English Heritage, I would have paid the money, but as it was a private company, I did not bother. I think this is a bad call from English Heritage. If people don’t have a mobile with them, I know my parents don’t always take their mobile phone out with them, how are you meant to pay? Or if you don’t take your bank card out with you, you can’t pay as there is no machine.

The other thing to consider at Conisbrough is that there are narrow stone stairs in the castle with no lift. If you are disabled or have push chairs, you might not be able to access the castle, but I would double check with English Heritage before you go.

Some of the winding stairs inside the castle.
The parking situation.

Thanks for reading.

Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire.

Tattershall castle is located in Lincolnshire, close to the beautiful Woodhall Spa.  I always like visiting this area as there is plenty of heritage, especially if you like the history of the RAF. 

The original castle was built by Robert de Tateshale in around 1231. He was granted a licence by King Henry III in order to build a crenelated manor house.  The castle was then passed to Ralph, 3rd Baron Cromwell sometime in the fifteenth century.  Ralph became Lord Cromwell in 1433, and remodeled the manor into a more lavish home.  It is said that half a million bricks were made at Edlington Moor Brickworks for the castle re-model.

Cromwell died, childless in 1456. I have found two versions of what happened to the castle after his death. One is that it was passed to his niece, Joan Bouchier. When Joan’s husband, Humphrey Bourchier changed sides during the war of the roses from the Yorkists to the Lancastrian cause, Yorkist King, Edward IV seized the castle on Bourchiers death. However, the National Trust website states that on Cromwells death, the castle passed into the Crown’s possession who subsequently granted it to loyal and familial subjects.

In 1573, the castle was purchased by Edward Clinton (Earl of Lincoln) and remained in their possession until 1693. It was then passed to the Fortescue family, who never lived at the castle and so let it decline. At one time, it was also used by farmers as a cattle shed.

In 1910, Tattershall and its contents were sold to a buyer in the USA (rumoured to be William Randolph Hearst). The sale included the contents which included the tapestries and fireplaces. However, in 1911, Lord Curzon purchased the castle and saved it from exportation and in August of 1914, the Castle was opened as a visitor attraction.  The castle became the property of the National Trust when Lord Curzon died in 1925. (The Curzon family home of Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire is also property of the National Trust).

I visited the castle on Sunday the 27th of October. The castle had been decorated for Halloween as they had an event on for kids, which made it a little busy and noisy for my liking. There isn’t a great deal to see, you can do an audio tour if you want more information whilst you are walking around. If you are not a National Trust member, adult entry is £7.50 without gift aid. There is a small shop (the old gatehouse) selling the usual National Trust merchandise and small selection of cakes, overpriced sandwiches and hot drinks. I had a coffee and it wasn’t very nice if i’m honest.

My pictures did not turn out as good as I would have liked. The light was too bright and shadows too harsh. But I have done my best to edit them.

A view of the Holy Trinity Collegiate Church from one of the upper floors in the castle.
The Guardhouse and Holy Trinity Collegiate Church.
The Guardhouse, now the shop and castle entrance.
One of the huge fireplaces saved by Lord Curzon.
The ruins of the stable block with the castle in the background.
Graffiti inside the castle.
Some of the tapestries saved by Lord Curzon.
The castle roof (photograph taken with iPhone)
Tattershall Castle (photograph taken with iPhone)

Thanks for reading.

Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, England.

The main entrance to the hall.

Elizabeth (Bess), Countess of Shrewsbury, built Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire as a display of wealth and power.  However, Bess came from modest beginnings.  Her father was not much more than a yeoman, yet Bess was able to climb the social ladder through a string of marriages to wealthy men.

Bess was first married at the age of 14 and widowed at 15.  Her second marriage was to Sir William Cavendish in 1547.  The couple had 8 children together, one of their grandchildren was William Cavendish, who built Bolsover New Castle.  When Cavendish died in 1557, Bess inherited his fortune.  She then married Sir William St Loe in 1559, on his death in 1565, Bess became one of the richest women in England.  In 1568, Bess married George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury and the richest man in England. They remained married until his death in 1590.  

In 1590, Bess began the building of Hardwick Hall.  The house was completed in 1597 with Bess living there her death on the 13th February 1608, aged 81.

The kitchen
The hall and garden
The gardens
The front lawn

Useful Information for visitors

The hall managed by The National Trust.  Entry to the house and garden is £15 for an adult and parking is £5, garden only entry is £7.50.  The house is open from 11am to 5pm from Wednesdays to Sundays. The garden is open daily from 09:00 – 18:00 and the park is open from Park Dawn to dusk.  There is also a shop and restaurant.

Hardwick Old Hall is managed by English Heritage but it is currently closed for renovation work.

Zzyzx, San Bernardino County, California, USA.

Formerly Soda Springs

Located off Highway 15 in California, Zzyzx is home to the California State University Desert Studies Centre.  However, it was once home to a health spa called Soda Springs.  The spa owner, Curtis Howe Springer was born in 1896 in Birmingham, Alabama.  He worked as an insurance salesman and then a radio evangelist, calling himself “the last of the old-time medicine men.” However, it seems that Springer had no formal medical training.  After making some money through preaching and selling homemade homoeopathic remedies, Springer used the money to file a mining claim in the Mojave Desert, which he called the area, Zzyzx.

Springer built a hotel and health spa on his desert land, heating the water with pumps and claiming that the site offered miracle cures.  Soda Springs ran for almost 30 years with people believing they were receiving natural medical treatments.  In 1969,  several customers made complaints and the American Medical Association subsequently investigated Springer, labelling him the “King of the Quacks.”   He was convicted in 1974 of fraud for which he served prison time.  Springer died in 1985 at the age of 88 in Las Vegas.

Only a few of the old buildings remain today but nevertheless, they are a reminder of the obscure story of Curtis Howe Springer and how one man managed to con people for the majority of his life.

Tips for visiting.

We just stopped by on route to Los Angeles. The place was quiet with maybe one more person having a look around. I assume you can walk around at your leisure as we did, but if you want to make sure before visiting, contact the university. http://nsm.fullerton.edu/dsc/desert-studies-center

Happy exploring.

Sutton Scarsdale Hall, Derbyshire, England.

The derelict shell of Sutton Scarsdale Hall
The derelict shell of Sutton Scarsdale Hall

The last time I visited Sutton Scarsdale was approximately a year ago. The first thing that I noticed on my return, was that nothing had changed in terms of the conservation work that is going on. Understandably you can’t go inside the ruin due to health and safety but it feels like English Heritage have forgotten about this place.

The hall was a Baroque style mansion built for the 4th Earl of Scarsdale in the 1720s. In 1919, a descendant of the famous Sir Richard Arkwright (I intend to do some articles on Sir Richard in the future) purchased the hall, subsequently selling it to a company of asset strippers. Unfortunately this was common practice in the 20th century. I’ve visited many shells and grounds of beautiful halls that were torn down and either shipped overseas, or simply just demolished. Errwood Hall in the upper Goyt Valley, Darley Hall in Derbyshire and Broomhead Hall in Sheffield are just a few.

Changes in social conditions in the 20th century brought about the destruction of many large halls. The upkeep of the buildings was incredibly costly as well as income tax and death duties contributing to loss of wealth. The website Lost Heritage documents 1,998 houses that have been demolished in England.

http://www.lostheritage.org.uk/lh_complete_list.html

Some of the interiors from Sutton Scarsdale are on display at the Museum of Art in Philadelphia. Along with some at the Huntington Library in California after being used as a set for a film, Kitty, in 1934.

https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/sutton-scarsdale-hall/history/

Taken from through the fence

Tips for visiting:

The site is managed by English Heritage and is accessed down a small road. The EH website states that opening times are Summer Daily 10am – 6pm, Winter Daily 10am – 4pm. Entry is free and there is a small car park.

Happy exploring.

Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire, England.

The 17th Century Playboy Mansion

Bolsover Castle was built to lavishly entertain guests and is often called the playboy Mansion of the 17th century.

Bolsover Little Castle and the Fountain Garden

Bolsover Castle can be traced back to the 12th century, but that it not what stands today.  The image above is of Bolsover Little Castle, which was built by  Sir William Cavendish in the 17th century as a retreat for entertaining guests. One of which was Charles I. To the right of the image is a statue of Venus in the Fountain garden.

The Stables

Sir William Cavendish loved horses. The building in front is the stables and indoor Riding School, which William Cavendish built to house the many exotic horses that he imported from overseas.

The Star Chamber

A study by the University of Sheffield suggests the Star Chamber was used as an auditorium for aristocratic plays and country house masques.

Colourful wall tapestries
Ceiling of the Heaven Room

The image above was painted in 1619, and is a depiction of Christ’s ascension into heaven surrounded by angels.

The kitchen ovens
The ruins of the Terrace Range

Unfortunately, only the Little Castle and the Stables remain intact today. William Cavendish also built the Terrace Range which overlooks Vale of Scarsdale. It was left to go to ruin by William’s son, Henry.

The Terrace Range
The remains of a fireplace inside the Terrace Range

Tips for visitors.

Bolsover Castle is managed by English Heritage.  The cost of entry for an adult as of 2019 is £11.80 and a child is £7.10.  If they have a special event on, there is an additional charge even if you are an English Heritage member.  On busy days the small carpark gets full, there is additional parking opposite the main car park and there is another carpark if you pass the castle to your right, but the entrance is quite concealed and I didn’t notice it until I had parked up and was walking back to the castle.  There is street parking but like anywhere, this is not ideal.  I parked on the street and someone parked about an inch from my bumper.  Luckily I had left enough room in front of me to get out.  In the summer the castle opens from 10am until 6pm, in winter, hours are reduced. 

Happy exploring.