- Following my post “Springwood footpath ” a reader of the post whom I will refer to as “reader M” got in touch and enlightened me on a few things . Reader M was born in 1935 in one of the four houses still standing in Longroyd Place and spent her childhood all around that area., these are some of the things she told me – Quoting what I can recall and paraphrasing the rest it went something like this. – Reader M “ behind that black door you mentioned was a path – a proper path – it was made out of black stuff – like tarmac or something and there were Rhododendrons on either side. In the right season they were full of flower, we used to sneak up the path and you could climb a tree at the end – I think it was a pear tree, then you could see the big house and sometimes you could see the people playing tennis in the tennis court that was at the side of the big house – if they saw you they would chase you off – and we would hide under the Rhododendrons.”
- Springwood Hall
- All that remains of Springwood Hall now is the name of a road “Springwood Hall Gardens “- which is of course self explanatory – the road is built in the gardens of the now demolished Springwood Hall. Sppringwood Hall was demolished in 1971 but there was building in the gardens long before , I have a street map from the late 1960s showing both Springwood Hall and the road ” Springwood Hall Gardens” together – surprisingly I have found someone living at an address in Springwood Hall gardens 1n 1961. I thought the houses would be from roundabout the time of demolition of Springwood Hall but I am obviously wrong
This is what I have found out about Springwood Hall – and some of the information contradicts the other ( dates etc) so I will insert( ?s ) where I think they are needed. Springwood hall was a grand house built by a self made Businessman Joseph (or John ) Haigh. He bought the Springwood Estate in 1804 for £1,560 and built the house over the next ten years or so. Joseph was of course in the textile trade and is described as a Textile Merchant, and this was the beginning of a boom time of textiles in the Huddersfield area – the right time and place to be for an entrepreneur to be !. The land was the area between Gledholt Road, Springwood Footpath, Greenhead Road and Water Street, The hall had two Gatehouses either side of the drive ( the drive took the approximate route of the present road – but not quite). The house had eight bedrooms, four reception rooms , and a servants wing. I will show you a picture of the approximate site of the house.
I am actually struggling to place where the house stood but I have borrowed some pictures from The Kirklees Image Archive from circa 1905
Now why would you demolish that? – lets see another picture.
- Now you see those trees around the Hall don’t you ? – You don’t think that today this may be evidence of them?
Who knows? – Right what can I tell you about Joseph (or John ) Haigh the builder of Springwood Hall – not a lot actually – he seems to be very elusive in the records, but this much I can tell you – He married a lady called Emilia ( I have not found her maiden name ) he was born circa 1765 (?) and died circa 1835(?) he had at least three daughters – possibly more, that lived into adulthood and at least one son – also called John (Joseph) – more confusion. The daughters were called EMILY – the eldest daughter who married Richard Croker esq of Ballynagarde county Limerick, 06/08/1821, at Huddersfield ELIZA -the third daughter who married Rev Thomas Croker of Ballynagarda county Limerick 26/05/1829 at Chentenham (sic) MARIA who married John Keilly esq of Strancally Castle county Waterford 08/08/1832 at Huddersfield parish.
- In 1832 Joseph Haigh is described as “Of Whitwell Hall and Springwood- why? . The answer is in1831(?) Joseph haigh bought some land near Malton in North Yorkshire for 95,000 guineas from the Graham Family, this works out at about £3.5 m today and built a house costing £30,000 – you work it out – about £1m? at todays value – must have been quite a nice gaff! – Now here comes the confusion – Louisa Katherine(?) Rosamond Haigh , born 1838 becomes heiress of Whitwell Hall when she comes of age , being the only surviving child of John Haigh ( died 1837(?) in London) or Joseph Haigh (died 1835(?) )
This is the confusing bit – I have seen Louisa( born 1838) described as the sister of John Haigh ( died 1837) making her the daughter of Joseph Haigh ( died 1835(?) ) I have also seen her father described as ” The son of a wealthy textile merchant” – meaning Joseph was her grandfather and John her father – you work it out , it’s doing my head in – it is so easy on “who do you think you are” on the television. Final thought If Joseph was her father and Emilia her mother , Emilia would have been 62 when louisa was born – no HRT in them days , take your pick! – all comments will be gratefully received. So we digress; we should be looking at Springwood Hall, not Whitwell Hall . After moving to Whitwell Joseph died in 1835 – presumably leaving the bulk of his estate to his only son John – Springwood Hall was still owned by the Haigh family , but was rented out – The 1851 census shows the occupants to be John Starkey ( woollen cloth merchant) and family, along with six servants. In 1837 John Haigh died on the 18th of september at 18 New Burlington Street, London(!), leaving a wife (pregnant(?)) and young son Reginald. John died aged 32, leaving his wife a widow of 21 , then sadly his only son Reginald died aged 2 years. This left the as yet unborn Louisa Rosamond Haigh ( born 1838) as Heiress to the Haigh estate. We must assume here that Louisa was the unborn daughter of John (certainly his wife anyway). Everything goes quiet for some years , Louisa’s mother gets married again(?) to a Mr Arthur Stephens – a Magistrate, they have a boy born 1848, his name is given on the census as Cecil James Haigh ( not Stephens!!) and Louisa grows up at Whitwell hall . On the 30th September 1858 Louisa married Sir Edmund Anthony Harley Lechmere who became the 3rd Baronet of Hanley Castle, Worcestershire. Here is a caricature from “Vanity Fair ” magazine 1883
This is where they lived – the girl did good!
Lady Louisa (note the new title) put Springwood Hall up for auction, it had never been her family home, she had never lived there and likely never been there so up for auction it went. The house, gatehouses, gardens, stables etc were to be sold by auction 26th July 1859 ( a private pew at the parish church was also included in the lot) Mrs Starkey by the way (probably now a widow ) was still in residence.
- Now Sir John William Ramsden gets involved . The Ramsden family owned much of the land in Huddersfield town centre . The Ramsden estate had already bought land in Greenhead and Gledholt to build villas on for the new middle classes, so they very much had their eye on the Springwood estate. Sir John suggested to the “improvement commissioners” – ( no council in huddersfield then – the Ramsden estate thought its control would be threatened by a fully elected council) that the Springwood estate should be bought for £22,435 and made into a public park , he would contribute £3000 and act as trustee and sir Edmund and Lady lechmere would contribute another £2000. The rest of the money would come public subscription and co – incidentally send the value of the villas he was building through the roof. The improvement commissioners decided that this was far too much money and the sale never went ahead – now comes the twist in the tale – on the 24th november 1860 the Ramsden estate bought the house and 32 acres of land for £20,000 . This is the end of the first part of the post. I will post the second part in the near future – not necessarily the next post because I need to go to the pub to test some beer. I will leave you with a few more pictures of Springwood Hall gardens today.