Bretton Hall

It was almost like a finishing school for a lot of my schoolpals.

Just down the road from our posh school, Bretton Hall was a local teacher training college, and somewhere people who went to study odd subjects like dancing went to disappear into arty land.

It didn’t seem like getting far enough away from home for me, and as neither teacher-training nor performance arts were ever on my agenda I never gave it a thought.

The building is Grade II listed, and was built around 1720 by Sir William Wentworth. I do think it is lovely.

At some point, late 70s or early 80s, the grounds were used for the development of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, apparently the first one in the UK.

These photos show sculptures either by Henry Moore or Barbara Hepworth, whose work always looks awfully similar to my untrained eye.

Maybe Hepworth, because as with the school link to Bretton, Hepworth actually went to my school. I suspect her fame, as our most well-known old girl has sadly been eclipsed by dear Helen, (Fielding, Bridget’s boring diary and all that). I would still say that Hepworth is our most prestigious and artistic old girl however.

Back to the park. We went on a murky day in 1986, to take the dog for a wander round and be arty.

What a beautiful setting for large pieces of art, and how well the gentle rolling environment set off the sculptures.

Despite merging with the University of Leeds in 2001, the college continued to have financial problems and closed its doors in 2007. I was quite saddened to read that. What a beautiful place to study arts of any type.

Last I read it was going to be a hotel and spa. Or something tedious like that. Far better educating young people IMNRHO.

Note: Duotone dilemma! Mine not DT. Using the building as main photo, brought out the beautiful colour of the stonework but did nothing for the sculptures, so it had to be green for the sculptures and landscape.


9 comments on “Bretton Hall”

  1. A nice-looking building. Always admire old arcitecture (anything more than 130 years old, since those are hard to come by in my corner). Sad that it is no longer serving its original purpose, yet if the building is able to be preserved, that is at least something.
    And yes I did not make a DT comment (although this background does work well) 🙂


    • It’s original purpose was as a nice house for rich gentry. The college aspect started in 1949. But I do think it is nice for people studying to work in beautiful surroundings which is my gripe. The sculpture park is open to the public, but it’s a shame the house isn’t.


      • Oh, I forgot to comment on your non-DT comment.

        The house looked beautiful with the soft background colour but it did nothing for the sculptures sadly, whereas the house can exist with the green. That’s the trouble with not having a photoblog and posting different colours of photos.

        Actually, I really like the soft muted green on this one. DT may have got over its tantrum with us.


  2. A very grand looking building, I guess built as a stately home?
    I lived on it’s doorstep for years, and I’ve never heard of it 😳 though moving to the midlands at the age of 18, I didn’t really have the interest I do nowadays.


    • Yup. What else? Amazing places aren’t they? You probably didn’t live as near as I did 😀

      I’m guessing it’s the same family as the ones who built Wentworth Woodhouse (have a search) not too far away, that also became an FE college – Lady Mabel for PE, and also faded away. Bought last year for a song. Well, if you call £1.5
      mill a song. Britain’s largest private house. If I had a photo, I’d blog about it!!


      • Wentworth Woodhouse looks even grander. I wonder who bought it for that bargain price, though I wouldn’t want to pay the upkeep costs.
        Being the inquisitive type I am, I’ve just googled how far away from Bretton I lived as a child. I’m even more gobsmacked I’ve never heard of it, as it was only 16.5 miles away.


        • Clive somebody. Newbould maybe?

          Apparently he is embarking on doing it up while simultaneously taking a case against the Coal Board as was (now Coal Authority? surprised there is one) for undermining (haha) the place.

          I had the advantage of Bretton being really very near and so many people from school going there automatically.


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