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Inside St. Leonard’s Church

St Leonard’s is the parish church for Loftus. The original ancient edifice dating back to Saxon times was demolished in 1810, described by Rev. Graves “as a dark, mean and humble building.” The new church designed by Ignatius Bonomi, a well known Durham architect who also planned the original Rectory, (this now called Linden House) above Dam end; the hall of Lord Dundas in the Hall Grounds is also much in his style. The church was again enlarged around 1900, with the addition of a north aisle. The fine carved rood screen and rood cross, divide the nave from the chancel.

Image (from a Skilbeck postcard) courtesy Maurice Grayson; detail courtesy of Nicholas Pevsner “Yorkshire- the North Riding”.

Zetland Road Loftus

Zetland Road Loftus 1950’s. A stark contrast to the present day, every shop on both sides of the street and further up Zetland Road were a thriving business. Possibly only Bramwell’s (formally Halton’s) are still in the same trade on the same premises.

A Skillbeck postcard courtesy of Maurice Grayson.

Loftus Water Mill

Loftus water mill on Gaskell Lane; there has been a mill on this site since medieval times. The water to power the mill came from a pond above the waterfall along a leat to a second pond and then along a second leat to the waterwheel believed to be an overshot wheel, the most efficient type. Most of the machinery is still in situ, by courtesy of the present owner. An historic part of Loftus deserving of preservation, this image is from a George Skilbeck postcard.

Image courtesy of Maurice Grayson.

Arrowsmith’s Yard in 1920s

Taken in the mid to late 1920s this view of the mason’s yard shows Edgar Colbeck (on right) who was apprenticed to William Arrowsmith.
Image courtesy of Christopher Colbeck.

Arrowsmiths Monumental Masons Loftus

This picture of the monumental masons yard on Zetland Road is from the earliest period when William Arrowsmith was the proprietor. Date is unknown although the headstones are of a late Victorian style so possibly from the early years of the 20th century. Researches have now provided an answer for the magnificent red granite(?) headstone in the foreground; it can be now found in Loftus Cemetery, dedicated to Mary Ann Brittain (1825 – 1906) wife of William B. Brittain (1820 – 1910). Mr and Mrs Brittain in 1901 were living at 37 West Road, Loftus; Mr Brittain was a retired Ironmonger. 
Image courtesy of Christopher Colbeck; additional information courtesy of Eric Johnson (dates courtesy of

Edgar Colbeck Proprietor at Arrowsmiths in 1971

This view of Arrowsmiths yard taken in 1971 shows Edgar Colbeck, he became proprietor in 1968 after working for John Arrowsmith (son of William) for several years.
Image courtesy of Christopher Colbeck.

High Street Loftus

Dating from 1908 this image includes J. R. ’White Hat ’ Robinson, standing behind the cart. He was the Ironmonger in the Market Place – listed in 1893 Kelly’s Directories – Robinson Brothers also owned the brass and iron foundry (Zetland Foundry) on Liverton Road.

Image and information courtesy of Alan Richardson.

Loftus Hall

Loftus Hall; built in the the area now known as Hall Grounds, Loftus. Around 1840 Sir Robert Dundas decided to build a new hall and enclosed a piece of land stretching from the bottom to the top of Church Bank, along the High Street veering to the left of Jasmine Cottage and then back to the woods almost as far as the mill, effectively cutting off Liverton Road, which ran down behind the present library. The route to Liverton was re-sited on Station Road.. Apart from being a local landowner, Sir Robert Dundas was also proprietor of the Lofthouse Alum Works. Peter Appleton has advised: “Sir Robert Lawrence Dundas (1780-1844) inherited the manor of Loftus from his father, Sir Thomas Dundas (1741-1820). By 1829, he had moved his home to Upleatham Hall. His land agent for the manor of Loftus then had use of Loftus Hall as their home. Communication between Sir Robert and his agent was carried out through a memo book system. Sir Robert would write his questions on one page and the agent would place his answers on the opposite page, followed by any requests. On his next visit, Sir Robert would respond to the agent’s requests and then add his own questions, and so it went on. At least one of these memo books has survived and is in the archives at Northallerton. A brief perusal of it indicated that Sir Robert visited Loftus approximately once a week, sometimes more frequently. When Sir Robert Lawrence Dundas died, he passed his manor of Loftus to his nephew, Sir Thomas Dundas (1795-1893), son of his elder brother Sir Lawrence Dundas (1766-1839).”

Image courtesy of Alan Richardson, additional information courtesy of Jean Wiggins; thanks also to Peter Appleton for the update details on the Dundas family.

Smithfield House Loftus

An early view of the end of Zetland Road, from an advertising poster, more recently known as ‘Tony Gallagher’s hairdressing salon’. Eric Johnson has advised: “Smithfield House became C. J. Dodds after moving from market place. Name was on cast iron sign above doorway.” We are unsure of date as yet, perhaps somebody out there can advise. Keith Bowers has assisted with: “Smithfield House were running a Summer Sale campaign in the Whitby Gazette July 1917.

Image courtesy of Geoff Patton, thanks to Eric Johnson, Keith Bowers and Neil Graham for the updates.

Loftus Shops Circa 1967

A quieter view of the Zetland Road and Westfield Terrace corner, taken before the traffic lights were installed. Also the various shops which then graced the end of Zetland Road. Much changed today, although the chemists remains with a much less imposing frontage. Ben Willis comments: “I am Grandson of Ruby Middleton (formally Trinder) who inherited “Trinders” (centre shop in photograph) from her father John Trinder. Did you know that one of Trinders curved entrance windows (as you can see in the photo) was one of a very few windows to survive World War II bombs in Loftus. The window remained intact until Coral the bookmakers bought the shop about 10 years ago, which they demolished and replaced with the modern bookmakers shop window… Sad.” Whilst Julie Riddiough adds: “Oh my god at last a photograph of Trinders shop, I have been searching for one for years. It was my great great great grandads shop originally. His daughter Kate was my great great grandmother. We have never been able to find a picture of the shop, I was due to go see Ruby a few years ago whilst doing the family tree, but she wasn’t well enough. My nana still has a china cabinet from Trinders shop that they were allowed to pick as a wedding present.”

Image courtesy of Ray Brown, thanks to Ben Willis and Julie Riddiough for the updates.