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Rushpool Hall pre-1904

Rushpool Hall before the Fire

Rushpool Hall is one of the finest specimens of Victorian architecture to be found in North Yorkshire. It was constructed at the head of the valley gardens in Saltburn-by-the-Sea in the years 1863-4 for Mr John Bell, one of the Victorian pioneer Ironmasters of Bell Brothers a company that controlled and worked the ironstone mines at Skelton-in-Cleveland. It seems logical that the magnificent Rushpool Hall was built with the first ironstone raised from Bell Brothers Skelton Shaft mine. After John Bell died in 1888, Sir Arthur Dorman (of Dorman Long Iron & Steel Works) moved in. Sir Joseph Walton, coal mine owner, active Wesleyan Methodist and Liberal Party MP purchased the property after it was renovated in 1906 following the great fire in 1904. The Hall was almost destroyed when a maids candle accidentally caused a curtain to catch alight. The construction of the outer walls built from ironstone mined in the Bell brothers Skelton shaft mine is probably the main reason why the Hall survived the fire. It is today a hotel and premier wedding and function venue. This image produced by Rapp’s of Saltburn as a postcard, clearly titled as ‘Before the fire of 20th February, 1904’; it must have been very topical at the time!
Image courtesy of Peter Appleton, additional information courtesy of Rushpool Hall.

1 comment to Rushpool Hall pre-1904

  • Alan Collins

    I lived in Victoria Rd Saltburn from 1949 to 1959 where the Valley Gardens was my playground, especially a place we called ‘the fairy glens’. At that time Rushpool Hall was used as a military hospital for shell-shocked soldiers. From curiousity, my brother and I used to sneak into the grounds from Skelton beck, beside the fairy glens – ignoring the PRIVATE and NO TRESPASSING signs. There was a back gate beside the river, where a tree was often used as a daring bridge! I think the nurses realised that seeing and talking to children was therapeutic, so they never told us off for being there, but pretended to ignore us. There was another long-stay mental hospital at Windy Hill, above the sand dunes between Saltburn and Marske. My school class performed a stage play there, for general mental patients, called The Grandfather’s Clock: a comedy of errors. I remember that four of us sat drinking dandelion and burdock from a “tea-pot” while eating angel cakes in hushed silence, during the play. Everyone forgot their lines, and when our teacher finally got us to carry on – there was an outbreak of clapping from the audience who obviously thoroughly enjoyed the joke we had not intended to play! Another memory from those times was when someone hung a mannequin from the Half-Penny Bridge, over the Valley Gardens (where I used to deliver a newspaper on my round) and it caused quite a stir because people reported someone had hung himself by the neck. That will have been in 1956. I am now 72.

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