In the 14th century the Bretton estate was owned by the Dronsfields and passed by marriage to the Wentworths in 1407. King Henry VIII spent three nights in the old hall and furnishings, draperies and panelling from his bedroom were moved to the new hall. A hall is marked on Christopher Saxton's 1577 map of Yorkshire... The present building was designed and built around 1720 by its owner, Sir William Wentworth assisted by James Moyser to replace the earlier hall. In 1792 it passed into the Beaumont family, (latterly Barons and Viscounts Allendale), and the library and dining room were remodelled by John Carrin 1793. Monumental stables designed by George Basevi were built between 1842 and 1852. The hall was sold to the West Riding County Council in 1947. Before the sale, the panelling of the "Henry VIII parlour" (preserved from the earlier hall) was given to Leeds City Council and moved to Temple Newsam house. The hall housed Bretton Hall College from 1949 until 2001 and was a campus of the University of Leeds from 2001 to 2007.
Work began on site in march 2016... The MüllerVanTol studio has been appointed to design the interiors of the Grade II listed mansion and the refurbishment of other listed buildings is well underway. Most of the 11 student dwellings which were built in the 1960's and 1970's have been demolished including Eglinton, Litherop, Swithen and Haigh, Grasshopper will be the last to go in late 2017. A real shame considering the position of the college which specialised in design, drama, music and other performing arts with notable alumna attending.
The Hall itself resides in 500 acres of park land which is home to the Yorkshire Sculpture park (YSP). (YSP) was the first of it's kind within the UK and his the largest in Europe, providing the only the place to see Barbara Hepworth and Bronzes by Henry Moore. Over 300,000 visitors are said to visit the park each year and on previous visits its been easy to blend into the crowd and walk around the exterior of the old Hall this said access internally as always been restricted. Access to the Hall today is strictly prohibited and is protected by 6ft metal fencing which spans the entire grounds including former classrooms and the stable block and more so their is a high presence of security on site with the developers keen to keep the public away. Recently signs have appeared to restrict the public taking pictures near the Hall itself... typical signs read (restricted use of photography in this area). The developers seem to be going to extreme lengths to protect the design ideas of the Hall and are passing these restriction onto local media and staff working onsite... I'm guessing the developers are wanting to keep their plans secret until the grand opening later in 2019.
During the festive Holiday period we decided to pay a visit... making our way to some of the former classrooms and the student centre. This led to the stable block passing by the former dwellings and down to the main hall. We were surprised to have got this far and would have been more than happy with some nice externals of the buildings on site. YSP was very quiet and we were aware of sticking out in the surroundings so decided to head inside. Making our way down to the hall we were sure we would be found before we had chance to pull out our cameras. We were quite taken away by the sheer scope of the refurbishment and the beautiful restoration work been carried out we soon forgot about the threats of been in the Hall. Slowly documenting our visit and proceeding through the Halls rooms we became aware our explore light could be attracting unwanted attention from the outside as daylight was running out. Turning it off where possible it was obvious that it would be shining like a beacon through the Halls many rooms, we decided to head out with the premise of returning in the morning. Unfortunately on our return we were met by the security who TBH was sympathetic in escorting us off the premises. It seems like our well documented day at Bretton Hall was a one off and maybe we will have to wait to see how the restoration unfolds when the Hall is reborn as an hotel.
1. Entrance Arcade belonging to former stable block (circa 1800).
2. Beaumont Bull & Wentworth Griffin above the columns on each side of the archway below the cupola.
3. Lost student art outside the experimental theatre... former carriage house
4. Looking down the Colonnade
5. The stable courtyard
6. The south range of Bretton hall dates back to 1720
9. Giant pilasters supporting the pendent at the north range of Bretton Hall
8. Three storey nine-by-five-bay main range.
9. Pathway leading to the exterior of the former library
10. Former Orangery
11. Plaque detailing the history
12. Former dinning room with marble fireplace
13. Typical Rococo style in the former dining room
14. Typically their would have been a frieze around the fireplace
15. Looking up at the glazed dome
16. Looks like restoration as begun on the pendentives
17. Former drawing room with its spectacular baroque ceiling
18. Close a look at the baroque ceiling
19. Originally Regency Library then later converted to a display room.
21. Left overs from the colleague era
22. looks like works yet to begin in this area of the hall
23. Leading back to the library
24. restoration of the cove Acoustics to amplify sound in the music room
25. Light hanging from the Adam style celling
26. South ranges main staircase
27. Main staircase with a wrought iron railing
28. Stone stairs leading down to the basement
29. A form of art nouveau
30. Inside the main range
31. Coving shelves
32. Beautiful example of a transom window
33. Mid - century scandinavian style chair
34. Adam style celling's from 1770
35. Developer keeping with the original sash windows
36. Groin vaulted passage with three arches and piers decorated with grisaille paintings in the Portico Hall
Added buildings from the former college days
37. The gymnasium
38. exterior of former classrooms
39. Former student centre reception
40. Corridoor leading to the classrooms
41. The student centre was empty
42. Damaged computer
44. typical student dormitory
45. recreational room
46. Entrance to one of the very few remaining former dormitory buildings
The history of the Bretton Hall could be a thread all on its own ... as could the documentation of the architecture its position as educational faculty and importantly the future usage of the Hall as an entertainment venue. I've done my best to condense this were possible and in doing so have provided a comprehensive report regarding Bretton Hall..
Hope you enjoyed the report
A revisit @ The Christallerie didnt have much time first visit .........
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Cheers for looking Oldskool .........