Durker Roods, Meltham

Durker Roods is a large residential property in Meltham that was built in the 1870s and is now a hotel.


The name is suggested to derive from the Scandinavian drit kjarr, meaning an area of dirt and brushwood (see also Dirker in Marsden)[1] whilst a rood was historically a measure of land area equal to a quarter of an acre. The 1850s map appears to show the area where the house would later be built as uncultivated land.

In December 1876, two plots of land at Durker Roods were sold as part of a sizeable auction of land in Meltham by George Tinker and Son and it seems likely the purchaser was Captain Arthur C. Armitage (1847-1931).[2] The Durker Roods property was built by John Kirk & Sons to a joint design with Edward Birchall of Leeds and completed in 1878:[3]


John Kirk & Sons, Huddersfield, and Ed. Birchall, Leeds, Architects.

This residence was erected for A.C. Armitage, Esq. It is situated about five miles from Huddersfield, and surrounded by pleasant scenery. It is built of local stone, the walls being pitch-faced, and the dressing chiselled. The roofs are covered with Westmoreland green slates.

A separate lodge house faced onto Huddersfield Road.

The Armitage's placed the hall up for sale at auction on 24 June 1890, although the Huddersfield Chronicle reported that no bids were submitted:[4]

DURKER ROODS ESTATE, MELTHAM. All that very beautiful situate RESIDENCE known as Durker Roods, Meltham, together with the stabling, lodge, pleasure grounds, and gardens, as now occupied by the owner A.C. Armitage, Esq., J.P., who is leaving the neighbourhood.

The hall was advertised for sale again in 1892 and appears to have been purchased at that point by Charles Brook, the son of Edward Brook, who allowed the Meltham Cattle Show to use a field adjoining Durker Roods in July 1893.[5] Brook would continue to allow the field to be used for fêtes and other local events.

In 1894, Brook complained to the Meltham Local Board about the low water pressure at Durker Roods, which he felt would mean an accidental fire at the hall would not be able to be extinguished. This partly turned out to be the fault of the local silk mill, which was taking water from a nearby hydrant.[6]

In the autumn of 1914, Brook offered the hall for use "as a hospital for wounded soldiers and sailors" and "to pay all expenses in connection with the hospital for at least six months."[7] Around 30 wounded men were received at the hall in October 1914[8] and 30 more the following month[9].

By the Christmas of 1914, there were 31 soldiers recovering in the auxiliary hospital. On Christmas Day, they dined on turkey, ham, and plum pudding, and each man received gifts reportedly from the Royal Family, including a cigarette case from the King, cigarettes from Queen Alexandra, and a "case of toilet requisites" from Princess Mary. Mr. T. J. Hirst of Meltham Hall presented each solider with "a capital service belt, fitted with pouch and knife" and nursing staff received either an umbrella or a wristwatch.[10]

By the late 1920s, Thomas W. Hirst was residing at Durker Roods.

The hall was advertised for sale or let in June 1936 with the following description:[11]


A MODERN FREEHOLD HOUSE, standing in its own grounds: entrance hall, four reception, eight bed and dressing-rooms, three bathrooms, servants' hall and good servants' accommodation; electric light (gas, water and electricity from mains at low prices) central heating; garage and stables, lodge and chauffeur's cottage. Large well laid out gardens (grass tennis court), greenhouses; approximately 10 or 15 acres in all to suit purchase.

47 New Street, Huddersfield.

The next owner was David Brown, of David Brown Ltd., who lived there until the early 1950s. The hall then became a guest house for the company.

The property was converted into Durker Roods Hotel in the mid-1970s and became a popular venue for weddings and corporate events.

Durker Roods Hotel was placed up for sale in 2009 for £700,000.[12]

Census Returns

year name age   details
1881 Arthur C. Armitage 33 absent Together with his wife, he was visiting Edward Brook and his family at Esplanade House in Scarborough. The couple had left their two young daughters back at Durker Roods with their nurse.
Elsie B. Armitage 2 daughter
Maud H. Armitage 1 daughter
Frances Williams 23 servant Nurse.
Emily Crosse 29 servant Cook.
John Didicoat 31 servant Butler.
Hannah Fairburn 18 servant Under House Maid.
Sarah J. Whawell 22 servant Kitchen Maid.
Alice Annie Stuart 28 servant House Maid.
Sarah Jane Roe 16 servant Under Nurse.
1891 Jane Douglas 31 servant General Servant.
Fanny Osbourne 20 servant General Servant.
Mary Pickering 33 wife Living at Durker Roods Lodge.
John Pickering 7 son
Harry Pickering 4 son
Mary Pickering 2 daughter
1901 Mary Jane Parkin 55 servant Caretaker in Charge.
Mary Elizabeth Edgington 20 servant House Maid.
John David Owen 20 servant Gardener.
? Durker Roods Lodge: family absent from home.
1911 Amelia Rushby 49 servant Housekeeper.
Ellen Powell 21 visitor
Joseph Turner 58 head Gardener living at Durker Roods Lodge.
Julia Ann Turner 54 wife
Edith Turner 23 daughter Cotton Beamer.
Mary Gertrude Jane Turner 16 daughter Silk Cheerer.
Joseph Henry Turner 14 son Stable Boy.


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Notes and References

  1. Place-Names of South-West Yorkshire (1913) by Armitage Goodall, pages 120-121.
  2. Huddersfield Chronicle (09/Dec/1876).
  3. British Architect (11/Oct/1878).
  4. Huddersfield Chronicle (24/May/1890) and Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (25/June/1890).
  5. "Meltham Cattle Show" in Huddersfield Chronicle (05/Aug/1893).
  6. "Meltham: Local Board" in Huddersfield Chronicle (24/Nov/1894).
  7. "Hospital Arrangements" in Yorkshire Post (18/Aug/1914).
  8. "Wounded Soldiers: 100 Expected in Huddersfield This Evening" in Huddersfield Daily Examiner (30/Oct/1914).
  9. "Another Contingent of Wounded Soldiers for Huddersfield" in Huddersfield Daily Examiner (10/Dec/1914).
  10. "Soldiers' Christmas at Meltham" in Huddersfield Daily Examiner (30/Dec/1914).
  11. Yorkshire Post (13/Jun/1936).
  12. "Durker Roods Hotel for sale with £700,000 price tag" in Huddersfield Daily Examiner (25/Aug/2009).