Who lived in a house like this?

RESEARCHING the houses where the wealthy of Dewsbury once lived is a fascinating subject which can go on and on.

Friday, 24th June 2011, 9:59 am

Many wealthy people lived near to where they owned mills and factories, but they always made sure they didn’t live too near, and that access to their homes was as private as could be.

Some had their own private estates, protected by private roads and wrought iron gates, and a porter’s lodge at the entrance as an extra safeguard.

Their grounds were so extensive that when they were later sold, usually to the local authority, they were converted into parks or recreation grounds.

In 1890, the old Dewsbury Council bought the estate of the Hague family and transformed it into Crow Nest Park.

The Moorlands, of which I wrote recently, was the home of the Tweedale family, and is now a residential home, and its grounds a residential estate.

Overthorpe Hall was sadly demolished, but good use was made of its grounds which became Overthorpe Park.

This week I have been delving into the history of another large estate, The Marlborough Estate, the entrance to which was gained from Halifax Road.

Marlborough House, is still standing, as are six terrace houses nearby, which were part of the estate, and its grounds became part of Batley Carr Park and Bowling Green.

At the moment I am still researching the history of this estate, but I do know that the last private owner was a local magistrate, Duke Fox esquire, whose relatives sold it on his deth in 1910.

At the time, Marlborough House was being rented by Dewsbury’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr T O Halliwell.

Marlborough House and the other houses in Marlborough Terrace, have been known to me all my life, for as a child I used to pass it every day on my way to St Joseph’s School in Batley Carr.

The house, when I first knew it during the 1940s, had been converted into a private school run by Mrs Sadler, wife of Mr Leslie Sadler, headmaster of Wheelwright Grammar School.

In those days there were no wrought iron gates protecting it from the public, but there was still the porter’s lodge at the Halifax Road entrance.

The lodge, which is still there, has been unoccupied for years, but I noticed recently someone doing repairs there, an indication that it may soon be occupied again.

When I was a little girl, there were no gates protecting this lovely thoroughfare,and people used to walk through it to gain access to Batley Carr Park.

It was a journey I made often with my mother, whose Saturday afternoon occupation was taking a stroll up Halifax Road to look at all the big houses and their lovely gardens.

She always took me with her, and our last stop was always Marlborough Terrace, where we’d pause to rest on one of the park benches erected nearby.

Mother never got her wish to see inside one of them, but I was once invited to view one, and I’m glad to say the interior would have lived up to all mother’s expectations.

Later, as a young journalist, I learned that the Marlborough Estate had been bought in 1920, as an investment by the trustees of a local charity – The Dewsbury Schools Endowed Trust.

This charity is still in existence and doing fine work. In the early days it was overseen by the old County Borough of Dewsbury, a duty which was later transferred to Kirklees Council.

Considering that the Marlborough Estate was bought initially by the local authority, it wasn’t surprising those early tenants were employed in some capacity by the council, mainly those working in education.

When the Marlborough Estate was put on the market in 1920, the auctioneer chosen to deal with the matter was Herbert Pickersgill.

The advert he placed in the newspaper read:

“A very select and charming freehold estate, situated in a secluded position within one mile of the Market Place and Railway stations of Dewsbury, consisting of an exceedingly well-appointed and modern built, Gentleman’s Residence, known as Marlborough House, together with six very attractive residential terrace houses, known as Marlborough Terrace.

“These all enjoy a southern aspect and are approached by a long Carriage Drive, and stand in the midst of choice gardens and park-like grounds, having a total area of over six acres.

“The outbuildings comprise very excellent stabling and garage, a stone-built Porter’s Lodge, three cottages and various minor buildings.

“The estate will be offered in one lot, and failing a sale, will be offered in the following or such lots as may be decided on.

“LOT 1 - the valuable freehold of a very substantially stone-built and well appointed gentleman’s residence known as Marlborough House, now in the occupation of Dr T O Halliwell.

“The accommodation provides: dining room, drawing room, breakfast room, five bedrooms, dressing room, fully equipped bathroom, an excellent kitchen, a butler’s pantry and commodious cellaring.

“All the rooms are exceedingly large, very lofty and remarkably well lighted, and the interior fitments are of a superior character, and in keeping with the structure.

“The outbuildings comprise well-fitted stabling for four horses, large double coach house or garage with fire-place, large harness room and hay loft over. There is also a well-fitted wash-house and an outside convenience.

“Electric light, gas and telephone are connected to the house, and the very choice gardens are situated on the south and east side of the house, comprising ornamental lawns with flower beds and borders, and a large sunk tennis lawn with gravel and shrubbery walks intertwining.

“There is a good kitchen garden and an excellent park-like paddock which is well shielded by a belt of fully matured trees, the whole comprising an area of five acres.”

THE Other six terrace houses for sale were in the occupation of the following: Mr W A Tolson, Mrs Stead, Mrs Porritt, Miss Sturt, Mr T H Johnson, and Mr Leslie Sadler, who was later to rent Marlborough House from the old borough council and convert it into a private school.

The following is a description of one of the houses, which suffices for all the rest, them being of a similar size and structure:

The accommodation consisted of dining and drawing rooms, four bedrooms, fully equipped bathroom, kitchen on ground floor with excellent completely fitted wash=house and good cellaring in basement.

There is a lengthy garden to front and rear of the house, and the out-buildings include coal house and convenience.

The structure of the house, the situation, interior fitments, together with the approach, are similar to those in the other lots.

ALSO sold as part of the estate were three stone-built cottages facing into Halifax Road, together with large garden and orchard to the rear of same, the whole comprising of 4,676 sqquare yards. These are in the respective occupations of Mr T H Jennison and Miss Emma Ellis.

This is a most desirable Lot for a Nursery-man or Market Gardener, its situation being a great feature.

Anyone with further details of Marlborough House or Marlborough School, especially if they have photographs, Please e-mail [email protected] or ring 01924 468282.