Brodsworth Hall was built in the Victorian era in the Italianate style by an obscure London architect, Philip Wilkinson. Based on the grounds of an earlier 18th century home, the Italianate style was also favoured for Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s Isle of Wight holiday home, although Brodsworth was furnished on a more comfortable and domestic scale.
Much of the original design scheme and furniture survives today, making it one of England’s least altered Victorian country houses. The gardens at Brodsworth are described as being a collection of ‘grand gardens in miniature’, and have been restored to their Victorian splendour. Their layout and design therefore totally reflects the desires and aspirations of the landed gentry in the 19th century.
Visitors are able to take a stroll in the labyrinthine gardens which are fully restored by a passionate staff and supporting team of volunteers. There are scenic vistas to enjoy and look across the beautiful surrounding landscape. There are enchanting features like the pleasure grounds to discover, with its ornate fountain centrepiece, traditional summerhouse and the family’s pet cemetery.
With a range of flora and fauna living in the grounds, people can enjoy the gardens no matter what time of year it may be. Whether snowdrops or winter evergreens, spring tulips, summer roses, or autumnal leaves, the gardens are full of an ever-changing colour palette that is a sight to behold for all lovers of the natural world.
Victorian life is ‘conserved as found’ at the striking country estate found in the village of Brodsworth, just a short drive from the A1(M). Brodsworth Hall was laid out in the 1860s as an up-to-date new home for the Thellusson family and their servants who had been in charge of the previous estate since the 1790s. Remarkably few changes were then carried out from its Victorian heyday until the site was taken on by English Heritage in the 1990s.
The last resident of the house before it went into the stewardship of English Heritage was Sylvia Grant-Dalton, the wife of Captain Charles Grant-Dalton, a captain who served in the trenches during the First World War. She fought a losing battle against leaking roofs and land subsidence from nearby coal mining for 57 years. After Sylvia died in 1988, her daughter Pamela gave the Hall and gardens to English Heritage to preserve for future generations.
The contents of the house were separately purchased by the National Heritage Memorial Fund and then transferred onto the ownership of English Heritage to go with the property itself. At the time of the purchase, it was decided to conserve the interiors “as found” rather than replacing or restoring them. In their fading and aging state, they still demonstrate how a once opulent Victorian house grows old, reflecting the changing lives of those who once inhabited them.
Some of the features of the wider Brodsworth grounds include the newly restored Target Garden, Victorian privy and Game Larder. Throughout the summer, local brass bands entertain visitors, and there is also a packed event programme, offering a range of activities to encourage people of all ages to experience this northern treasure.
People can explore the gorgeous grounds, discover the unique rose and stop for afternoon tea in the onsite outdoor café.
The beautiful manor house has been used as a filming location a number of times in recent years, most notably in the 3rd series of “Victoria” starring Jenna Coleman. Interiors have also been used in Winston Churchill biopic “Darkest Hour”, horror flick “Altar” and “The Thirteenth Tale” starring Olivia Coleman.