Woodhouse Hall, Woodhouse Hill

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Details

  • appears on maps: 1892 [#55], 1905 [#74]
  • location on map: off Woodhouse Hill
  • status: no longer exists
  • category: hall
  • notes: set in large grounds, now home to North Huddersfield Trust School

Discovering Old Huddersfield

Extract from Discovering Old Huddersfield (1993-2002) by Gordon & Enid Minter:

Further along Woodhouse Hall Road, the several buildings of Fartown High School stand on land once occupied by Woodhouse Hall which was built in the early years of the nineteenth century when newly prosperous merchants and manufacturers were spreading their wings and moving away from the town to the suburbs. The house which, like many of its kind, was built of local stone stood in five acres of well laid out, wooded gardens. It had an impressive pillared entrance leading to a large hall with a stone flagged floor. From an inner hall doors led off to an oval dining room, a drawing room and a billiard room. A splendid staircase, lit from above by a glass dome, gave access to the first floor where there were four large bedrooms each with its own dressing room.

During the 1860s the Hall was occupied by Lewis Randal Starkey, his wife, two sons and seven servants. A member of the wealthy Starkey family, woollen manufacturers of Longroyd Bridge, Lewis Starkey, at the age of thirty-two, stood as a Conservative candidate for the Southern Division of the West Riding in the general election of 1865. He was defeated and when he tried again in 1874 and 1880 he was again unsuccessful.

Another tenant of the Hall with strong political views was George Thomson who took up residence there in the 1880s. Twice Mayor of Huddersfield and a Freeman of the Borough he was a man much respected and admired throughout the district. George Thomson was born in 1842 at Lower Head Row, Huddersfield. His father, William, a cloth merchant, came to Huddersfield from Scotland and, for a time, lived at Newhouse, Highfield. George was educated at "Old Tatterfields" school in Ramsden Street and at Bramham College, York. At the age of sixteen he entered his father's warehouse and, four years later, the two started a cloth manufacturing business at Priestroyd Mills, Firth Street. In 1880, two years after his father died, the firm, William Thomson & Co. Ltd., moved to Woodhouse Mills, Leeds Road, the premises once occupied by John Whitacre of Sun Woodhouse.

In the late 1920s Woodhouse Hall ceased to be a private residence and on 5th June 1929 it was opened as a school for delicate children by Margaret McMillan, the pioneer of open-air education.

In his admirable and learned essay "Settlements in Huddersfield before 1800" (printed in "Huddersfield a Most Handsome Town") George Redmonds says that the earliest reference to Woodhouse is found in 1383 and its earliest tenants were the Brooks. Commenting on the remarkable concentration of Brooks in the Fartown area in Tudor times and earlier Dr. Redmonds says: "...it is tempting to see all this deriving from the Brooks of Woodhouse."

It has been suggested by local historian Philip Ahier that Woodhouse Hall was built on the site of the early Woodhouse but we are not convinced that this is so. On an estate map of 1797 Woodhouse is clearly marked close to Woodhouse Hill whilst on Jefferys' map of 1772 a building called Sun House is shown in a similar position. On neither map is there a building shown on the site of Woodhouse Hall. From all this it seems much more likely that the original Woodhouse evolved over the centuries into the house now called Sun Woodhouse.

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Location

Woodhouse Hall, Woodhouse Hill

Categories

Buildings | Demolished buildings | Stub entry
This page was last modified on 16 August 2018 and has been edited by Dave Pattern.

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