Monday, 31 December 2012

Newhill Hall Wath on Dearne

Newhill Hall Wath on Dearne South Yorkshire

John Payne was a wealthy farmer and Quaker who lived at Newhill Grange, Wath upon Dearne. He also owned lead mines and had shares in Derbyshire and Chesterfield canals. In 1785 he commissioned William Lindley (1739–1818) to build Newhill Hall. Lindley was a well known Doncaster architect who had been the first assistant to John Carr from his youth at 14 years old (working 1753 to 1773). He had already built the Doncaster playhouse in 1775 (now demolished) and became a Doncaster freeman in 1783, so was an obvious local choice for Payne’s new fashionable home.

The house was typically classical in style with 4 sets of twin pilasters adorning the higher level of the entrance front, with double bay windows on the ground level which may possibly have been added in the C19th. Round arched door with twin arched windows were used in each of the corridor wings leading to the two storey service wing blocks. A glass house was also added to the SW service wing during the C19th. The house was unusual for Lindley in that he used dressed local stone rather than the usual fashionable stucco, no doubt to give a more impressive and expensive façade.

The house was lived in by various family members until the last family resident died in 1944. Evacuee families from London who had been living locally then moved in and the house had a high occupancy although little repair work was done over the next few years. The council made a compulsory purchase in 1953 and the house was demolished. The whereabouts of the fixtures and fittings, and records of their purchase are not known, but would have been substantial.

The main entrance was in the south front, viewed here in a photograph taken from the SE side. The site of the hall today is grassed over and is the exact centre of Newhill Park. The north garden front would have been parallel with Nicholson Avenue and had a view directly up Hall Drive, a housing estate today.

Surviving work by Lindley in Doncaster includes 26 Hall Gate (1798) and 19-21 South Parade (The Pillared Houses) (1804).

Friday, 28 December 2012

Paxton Park St Neots Cambridgeshire


It is unclear when the original house was built but records suggest that it was in the last half of the C18th for the Pointer family. It could possibly have replaced an earlier building. It passed by marriage to the Standleys then sold to Lord Overstone, and later passed on to Lord Lord Esmé Gordon (born 1853) who extended it some time in the 1880s. The main house was refurbished / re-clad, while a large service wing was built in a mixed Victorian manner with elements of the Italianate and Jacobean styles. This more than doubled the size of the house and created a new north wing, behind which there were further service buildings and a stable block. Lord Esmé Gordon also owned 71 Princes gate Kensington in London and appears to have outstretched himself, having been declared bankrupt on 17 August 1891. He died in 1900 just 47 years old.


Its use changed from home to school to hospital in the C20th. One of the later owners, a Lady Wantage is recorded as having died in 1920, after which Paxton Park was sold to Mr.Harold Boardman, who used it as a boys' school. It was a Christian Science boarding school in the 20s  (a photo of 1927 suggests all girls). It then became the Cambridge district's maternity hospital during WW2 until 1955. Following usage as a hospital the hall was finally demolished in 1959. The site of the C18th house today is from 38 Park Avenue to the road nearby to the NE.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Willingham House Lincolnshire

Willingham House, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire. RevivalHeritage summary of the house history and its final destruction in 1967.

Willingham House early C20th South entrance front. REVIVALHERITAGE collection

Willingham House was one of dozens of fine buildings across Lincolnshire to meet its end during the C20th. Its loss is most apparent now in the early C21st, as Georgian design is particularly popular as an architectural style for domestic buildings. It is without doubt that had the building survived it would iether be in institutional use or an historic visitor attraction today, certainly with listed status. It would also have been the finest example of late C18th architecture in the county. But alas, it met its end under state supervision and nothing more than the walls of a few out-building remain.

Built 1790 for Ayscough Boucherett by Robert Mitchell (similar style can be seen in the engraving Selwood Park (Silwood Park), in the County of Berks, the Seat of James Sibbald Esqr - designed 1788). It was last used as a german then italian prisoner of war camp in WWII before becoming a civil defence training centre. The Boucherett family were regularly painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A. (1769-1830).
This view of the house was first sketched by Mr John Aspin, redrawn by Mr R Corbould, then engraved by Bartholomew Howlett and Published by William Miller, Old Bond Street in 1801.
Portrait of Mrs Ayscoghe Boucherett with her two Eldest children Emilia and Ayscoghe, and her half-sister Juliana Angerstein in a garden. Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830) sketched and painted the Boucherett family regularly between 1793 and 1805 and would have been only 25 years old when this pastel picture was completed. Their country seat, Willingham House, Lincolnshire had a classical pillared portico as is used in this image although this is just as likely to be a ‘studio effect’ added to reflect the taste and fashion of the times. The picture passed from the Boucherett family to William Angerstein (b.1811 - d.1897) of Weeting Hall, Norfolk which suffered exactly the same fate as Willingham House, but being demolished earlier in 1954 following years of war requisition and hospital useage.
Willingham House, Lincs C1900. Unusual for a house of this stature, for all the locals to see, this was the view from the main road, from Market Rasen to Louth. The lake still remains, although now obscured by mature trees from the main road. Willingham House was blown up at 2pm on June 7 1967 by explosives set by the Royal Engineers following years of neglect. The roof timbers were suffering from wood beatle which was making the building unstable. There was little feeling of heritage attached to the 1790 building by the local authorities, perhaps surprisingly for a county, noted for its conservation of ecclesiastical architecture since the C18th. However, the house had been a prison camp during and following WW2, then an MOD training camp and was unlikely to be taken on again by a family. The repair costs outweighed conversion costs and the feeling was that something should be done rather than leave a dangerous ruin unattended. To avoid the hazard of collapse (and to save money) during a careful demolition and salvage operation, the decision was taken to use dynamite. For practical reasons, but shocking to us today, the portico had its pillar’s loaded with explosives to do the job, thus reducing the remains to nothing more than land-fill. The beautiful wrought iron stair rails may well have been taken away for their scrap value, not having any practical use for anything else. The decorative plastered ceilings and walls were all destroyed. Very few images survive of the interior, or the back of the hall, which was made up of the service buildings and stables (3/4 of the total building area).