26/07/2007
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Brodsworth Hall & Gardens - Doncaster

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Laying preserved, a rare survivor from a bygone age, is the 15-acre gardens and mammoth white angular stonework of Brodsworth Hall.

To see any Victorian building stood proudly, bathed in summer sunshine, is a sight to behold – however Brodsworth and its enchanting gardens has more than just aesthetic appeal: there’s history in the walls, chandeliers and water fountains.

You approach the grand entrance to the hall via a short walk up the driveway, greeted by a huge front garden and ancient trees.

Charles Sabine Thellusson, who owned the 8,000-acre estate from 1858 to 1885, built the present Brodsworth Hall and did much to shape the surrounding landscape you see today.

Sadly, towards the end of the last century, though, the house fell into a serious state of disrepair and eventually, in 1990, Thellusson’s great-granddaughter, Pamela Williams, signed the hall and its surrounding gardens over to the control of English Heritage.

Being the only person who lived permanently in the hall, she resided in only a handful of rooms. Therefore, inevitably, the hall began to crumble. In fact, the house actually subsided by as much as 20cms.

During the Second World War, the army moved in and positioned anti-aircraft guns around parts of the house. One gun created such force when fired that it caused a huge split running down one part of the ceiling, which can still be seen today.

Today, after much repair and due in no small part to a huge army of volunteers, the house is virtually restored to its former glory.

Taking a walk inside the hall gives you a flavour and insight into the life of a wealthy, aristocratic family and the plethora of servants and butlers they employed.

And as well as a tour around the magnificent family rooms, there’s also the opportunity to take a glimpse of what life was like as a servant by seeing their sleeping quarters.

One of the rooms that stand out is the billiard room. A fantastically opulent room, with a priceless billiard table, flanked either side by velvety sofas, presumably for the supporters of each player where, no doubt, a lot of money changed hands in the form of wagers.

At huge expense, a rooflight was built directly over the table to give players much better sight.

Outside, the gardens have been meticulously restored to their 1860s heyday. A whole afternoon could be devoted to just strolling around the vast gardens taking in the sights such as the impressive centre-piece of the gardens: the glorious water fountain, as well as the summerhouse towards the back of the gardens which give a unique view of the south side of the hall and the croquet lawns.

HOW TO GET THERE:
Brodsworth Hall is five miles to the North West of Doncaster, and only a few miles from junction 37 of the A1(M).

Contact:
Brodsworth Hall & Gardens, Doncaster
DN5 7XJ.
Tel: 01302 722598

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