On a very sunny day in August we went to visit Lotherton Hall, an Edwardian house not far from Leeds. It has been run by Leeds City Council since 1968. As well as the Hall, which is now a museum, the estate also includes a bird garden (which will feature in Part Two) and an orchard and a deer park (which we didn’t have time to explore).
We did get slightly lost on the way as the signposting leaves a lot to be desired, but even so, there’s so much to see that spending the majority of the day there, as we did, is perfectly possible. And for an admission price of £5 for adults, more than worth the money.
Photography inside the house is only allowed with prior permission, which I did not have, which is a shame as there were tonnes of beautiful objects inside and the interior is actually a lot more ornate than it looks from the outside, particularly given the unprepossessing front entrance.
It’s not clear exactly when the Hall was built but it was bought by the Gascoigne Family in 1825 and Sir Alvary and Lady Gascoigne donated the house in 1969 to Leeds City Council, using a lot of their own money to convert it for public use.
The Gascoigne’s weren’t keen on the Hall being solely a display of their family life so they encouraged the Council to display artwork and objects they already owned but hadn’t been able to display anywhere else; the collection is over three thousand objects strong, from clothing and Victorian furniture to Eastern pottery.
The gardens were also lovely and I had been particularly impressed by the statue below, after having first caught a glimpse of it from one of the upstairs bedrooms.
According to the inscription next to it this is The Pilgrim Priest Sho-Haku who, according to legend, travelled from town to town reading the Scriptures to everyone he met.
Adjacent to the Hall is the Chapel, dating back to the 12th Century. I wasn’t entirely sure if photography was allowed inside, given that it’s not in the house, but as there was no one around to ask and no obvious sign indicating otherwise, I risked a few quick photos of the stained glass in the east window.
Even without the addition of the bird garden this is a lovely place to visit and explore. Highly recommended.
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