Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Cusworth Hall - Doncaster's Brightest Jewel

We had a lovely magical mystery tour. First we ended up at a country house in Leeds which was the wrong one! It was wrong, because Mo intended to take us to another one that was free to get in. By a process of elimination we eventually found it. Cusworth Hall in Doncaster.
Even on a rainy day it looks impressive as you drive up to it. Built in the 1740's it is a typical imposing country house of that period. I forget the year, but the owner, Lord Battie-Wrightson died a premature death and having no eligible heir at that time it was left to his wife (his son and daughter were young at the time). This was the heyday of the house and 36 servants were employed. Mrs. Battie-Wrightson was well known for her lavish entertaining and was famous for her fancy dress balls. When her son Robert reached the age of 21 a huge party was given and all the servants were given the day off to attend. They got Harrods to cater for it. The house then passed onto the son Robert. Unfortunately his mother was dismayed by Robert's marriage to a publican's daughter. The ill fated marriage didn't last long and Robert started a long lasting affair with his house keeper. Over the years, Robert frittered away his fortune on wine and women and when he died in 1952 the crippling death duties meant his sister had to sell the entire contents of the Hall. It fell into disrepair until 1961 (I think) when it was sold to....er...let me look that bit up...Doncaster Rural District Council. Last year the hall underwent a £7.5 million restoration which means it is now lottery funded and free to get in. Tah-dah! I remembered most of that myself. :0)
When we arrived we went and had a lovely lunch in the cutest tea rooms you have ever seen. It looks like it was originally a stable and it has cobbled floors. The walls are all damp and there's a roaring fire in the corner. Absolutely gorgeous.
Then we went 'below stairs' in the old house to the kitchens. I tell you what, I wouldn't mind a kitchen like this, even now! It's certainly a very workable kitchen and somewhere where I'd want to cook all day. Look at that range!
Then there was the wash room which I wasn't so keen on! It looks like very hard work to me.

There are displays of all washing machines and implements through the years and guess what I spied mum? A Flatley Dryer! I immediately remembered it from my childhood. Do you remember the clicking noise it used to make as it sat on the landing?

There are lots of displays including babies things, toys, dresses, leisure and sports and the like which was all very interesting. We had the whole house to ourselves apart from two other couples. There was also a religious section which housed an amazing tiny chapel. I must say it smelled very peculiar, but then these places always do.

Mo almost fell over backwards trying to get a good look at the amazing ceilings!

Outside of the chapel we found this. It is made from an early form of plastic and looks to be hand carved. I was mesmerized by it. It is of the Lord's Prayer and I would LOVE to own it. Behind the 3D scroll work is different coloured silks.

This photo does not do it justice. I couldn't get a good picture as it was behind glass. I WANT IT!

So there you have it, our day out at Cusworth Hall in Doncaster. There are lots more pictures here: http://www.cusworth-hall.co.uk/


Beetle said...

Very interesting indeed, and a very descriptive blog :O) Mo will have to take me there. I can't believe an actual free place to go!

granny grimble said...

That was interesting Sindie and it sounds like you both had a great time. You are a lucky girl to get all that quality time with Mo. The tea rooms looked very inviting. There used to be a place like that in Sheffield, in he back streets near the crucible.

weechuff said...

What a smashing place to visit, and all for no charge! I can't believe it! Why didn't you go with them Babs? This is a really nice place for us to take Kay, and it will only cost the petrol money:0)That's one place booked up Kay! And it isn't very far away either. How on earth did Mo find that? We looked for ages for places to visit, didn't we Sindie, but I don't think this one came up. And so local too. Was the tea room still serving, even though no-one was there?

Spider said...

Wait until Jeanette reads this blog, she lived in Doncaster all her life (I think it was all her life) anyway I bet she will have something to say about it.

I definitely want to go there, can't you take Dave and I Mo when we visit in August. We can go in our car. Perhaps we can all go together. ooooh great stuff. Tina xx

Anne said...

What a lovely day out and so glad the horrible weather didn't interfer with your day. There are some beautiful buildings left for us all to see - not normally free entry though! Not surprised Mo nearly fell over - the ceilings are always amazing in these houses.
I would make it an annual mystery tour if I were you - or even more often if Mo is up for it. Think everyone else will want to come along for the ride!
Anne x

Sindie said...

The tea roms are lovely and yes they were serving (pay attention woman!)It's open all year. I don't know how Mo finds these places but I'm glad she does!

Sarah said...

I adore places like this. I really soak up the atmosphere. I think I could live in that tearoom!

My sister lives in Hull, so I shall have to tell her about it.

Hugs, Sarah x

Naturegirl said...

Sindie it is always interesting going back in history. That kitchen does look usable but I agree NOT that bath!

Your mum sent me over because she read in my blog archives that I too was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. I had a lumectomy and radiation and it has been 4 yrs..Hurrah! I have left it in the rear view mirror part of my past. I am so delighted that you and I are now standing on SOLID GROUND!! Yipee!! I posted my experience in a post called ~Solid Ground~
It is a pleasure and delight to meet a sister survivor!! hugs NG xo

GoldAnne said...

what an interesting place and you took all the history in!!!! awful washrooms though, beautiful ceilings I love gorgeous ceilings, used to have a lot in chelsea, when i went to parties (wont go into how I liked those lol)
love anne xxx

Jeanette Spain said...

Brings back memories, I used to take my class to Cusworth Hall every year, where they could do the housework and wash the cloths as they did in the days of old, THe children never failed to ask if that was how we did the washing when I was a little girl and were quite shocked when I used to inform them no my mum had a washing machine.
Jeanette Spain

Jeanette Spain said...

No Tina I did not live in Doncaster all my life only from 1978
Jeanette Spain