The Now and Then column with Aled Jones: Focusing on Sewerby Hall and Gardens

This image, based on a vintage photograph from the 1900’s, shows the important and imposing Queen Anne Oak Staircase of Sewerby Hall and Gardens. Postcard submitted by Aled Jones

While the old postcard and photo don’t show many architectural changes, the history of the hall is interesting.

Mr Jones said: “From private property to public park – it’s strange how things are going. Built in the first decade of the 18th century, Sewerby House was the home of the Lloyd-Greame family but found new uses as a holiday home when it was purchased by the Bridlington Corporation in 1934. It was renamed Sewerby Hall and Park after an official opening by Amy Johnson exactly two years later.

“It’s worth coming here just to see the important Queen Anne Oak Staircase featured so stunningly in this week’s postcard (based on an old photo from 1900).

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A modern photograph by Aled Jones of the Hall’s staircase.

“Note the cantilevered structure, only attached at one end to create a ‘floating appearance’. The curved handrail with carved and turned balustrades completes the alluringly beautiful effect.

“The staircase is original and dates from the time the estate was founded in 1709-10.

“Built by High Street resident John Greame, the red brick house it adorned was definitely intended to impress and is said to have replaced an old manor house that fell into disrepair due to the Civil War.

“The Queen Anne House was expanded in the early to mid 19th century to include two arched wings and a rather magnificent Orangery, now popular for concerts and recitals.

“The postcard shows a contrast from the natural disorder of an inhabited house to the rather dull and superficial appearance of today. Doesn’t it seem wrong to run such a beautiful building as a museum and not also as a beloved family home?

“Today, Sewerby Hall is perhaps more admired for its 50 acres of parkland than for the building itself. Nature lovers come here to enjoy the tranquility and beauty of the formal grounds and walled gardens, so famous for their rare and exotic shrubs.

“These used to be the family’s vegetable gardens and orchards.

“Think of a place where a TV station could recreate a 19th-century kitchen garden and Sewerby Hall springs to mind.

“If the BBC ever plans to remake the 1987 series The Victorian Kitchen Garden, they will be hard pressed to find a better location.

“My other main hobby besides collecting old postcards is collecting locally addressed stamp covers.

“The centerpiece of my collection is a rare Two Penny Blue binding from 1843.

“It was sent from Bakewell to the then owner of Sewerby House, Yarburgh Greame, who had recently inherited the property from his father. A popular and respected man, he became High Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1848.

“The large monkey puzzle trees at the back of the house were planted by Mr Yarburgh, who we should also thank for most of the mid 19th century additions to the house.

“He also commissioned the famous architect Sir Gilbert Scott to design for him the neo-Norman church that still stands near the park entrance.”

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