Castle Hill Hotel, Almondbury
The Castle Hill Hotel was a former public house on Castle Hill, designed by architect William Wallen.
A licensed premises was first built on Castle Hill circa 1810. This appears to have been a small alehouse which later acquired a beerhouse license. By 1841, the publican was Richard Ainley and his wife Elizabeth.
At the Brewster Sessions of 1851, an application was heard on behalf of Elizabeth Ainley "for a license for a new house to be erected on Castle Hill" (designed by architect William Wallen) to replace the existing one. The application was granted on the proviso that "the new building be completed by the next annual licensing day." Local magistrate Joseph Brook was reported as remarking that "the public were crying out for accommodation and for proper places of refreshment" and that he had no objection as long as "a new and safe road was made" to the proposed new building.
Despite her best efforts, Ainley was unable to find masons to complete the work by the 1852 Sessions and it was felt "the great amount of work going on in Huddersfield and the neighbourhood" was to blame. Although the local magistrates therefore rejected her application, it was granted on appeal at the West Riding Quarter Sessions.
The property was complete prior to March 1854, when it was advertised for let:
To be LET, the newly-erected and very commodious HOTEL at Castle Hill. The House and Grounds (when completed) will afford public and private Pleasure Parties all the accommodation and attraction they can possibly desire.
The grounds mentioned in the advertisement were to comprise a flower garden and a bowling green (the later being shown on the O.S. maps of the early 1890s) "thus furnishing our townspeople with a convenient summer resort, and in a locality commanding one of the most picturesque and romantic panoramic views to be met with in the West Riding". An omnibus was also reported to run from Huddersfield to Castle Hill, via Almondbury, during the week.
In September 1854, the licence was transferred from Elizabeth Ainley to Richard Noble of Almondbury. Ainley then took over the licence of the Wessenden Head Inn at Wessenden Head (then referred to as the New Inn).
To be LET, and may be entered immediately, an Old Established PUBLIC HOUSE, viz., The "Castle Hill Hotel," situate at the top of Castle Hill, near Huddersfield. A good business is done in the summer season. Picnics and excursionists visit it from all parts of the country. Apply on the premises, or to Messrs. Bentley and Shaw, Lockwood Brewery, near Huddersfield.
It was let again in 1880:
TO BE LET, the CASTLE-HILL HOTEL. The house is in good order, having recently undergone extensive improvements. Immediate possession. Valuation moderate. Apply at Lockwood Brewery, Huddersfield.
By the late 1990s, the hotel had came under the ownership of the Thandi Partnership, who sought to renovate and expand it. Conditional planning permission was granted in 2000, but the work subsequently carried out was far in excess of what had been approved and a Stop Notice was issued. By that point, the entire hotel had been demolished.
Despite further planning applications by the Thandi Partnership, public opinion had swung against there being any sizeable new building on Castle Hill. Objections to the applications were also raised by a wide number of local organisations, including Huddersfield Civic Society, Honley Civic Society, and Huddersfield and District Archaeological Society.
Notes and References
- An article in the Leeds Times (01/Jul/1848) describes Ainley as the "keeper of a respectable beer house".
- Richard Ainley died on 28 June 1848 "after a protracted illness". He was buried on 10 July 1848 at All Hallows, Almondbury.
- "West Riding Quarter Sessions" in Huddersfield Chronicle (23/Oct/1852).
- Huddersfield Chronicle (18/Mar/1854).
- "Proposed Pleasure Grounds and Gardens at Castle Hill" in Huddersfield Chronicle (25/Mar/1854).
- Huddersfield and Holmfirth Examiner (23/Sep/1854).
- Ainley was only the licensee for a few months, after which it was transferred to Joseph Roberts of Austonley in March 1855.
- "Castle Hill Temperance Hotel" in Huddersfield Chronicle (28/Jul/1855).
- Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (04/Feb/1874).
- Huddersfield Chronicle (24/Jul/1880).
- The initial planning application ("Erection of New Extensions to North and South and Use of First Floor as Licensed Restaurant") was rejected. See Kirklees Council Planning Applications (reference: 98/62/90785/W2).
- See Kirklees Council Planning Applications (reference: 2004/57/92962/W2), Kirklees Council Planning Applications (reference: 2009/62/93504/W2), Kirklees Council Planning Applications (reference: 2004/62/93324/W2), Kirklees Council Planning Applications (reference: 2012/62/91867/W) & Kirklees Council Planning Applications (reference: 2012/62/93683/W).