Sheffield manufacturer Hugh Facey has sold his family mansion to St Luke’s Hospice - and moved into the eco-home he had built in the grounds.
The Gripple boss and wife Frances pondered what to do with historic Clifford House, on Ecclesall Road South, for years after their two daughters grew up.
In the end they chose to stay put, build their own home - and sell the five-bed Victorian pile to the charity, which is based next door.
The private sale saved St Luke’s from competition in south west Sheffield’s overheated housing market. It is paying over five years.
Clifford House was built in 1896 for Denys Hague, a collier, and has five bedrooms, 21 chimneys and a stable block. It also came with several acres of land.
It was during one of his evening ‘gin and tonic walks’ around the perimeter that he came up with the self-build plan.
Mr Facey said: “We looked for two or three years but couldn’t find anywhere right, then I had the thought.
“We decided we weren’t going to be in Clifford House when I was 70 in December. We moved into the new home in January so we missed the deadline. I’m a great one for moving on. It was a great family home, but I’m really chuffed that St Luke’s have got it.”
In 1915, the house was bought by Charles Clifford, chairman of the Telegraph and Star newspaper. When he died in 1936 readers had a collection which paid for the gates that can be seen from Ecclesall Road today.
It was taken over by the Government in the war and later acquired by a private steel company which became part of the British Steel Corporation on nationalisation.
In 1968 BSC gave some land to St Luke’s. In 2000, it sold the land and house to builders, which is when Mr Facey made his offer.
He added: “We lived nearby and used to come on kids’ pony treks in the grounds and I just thought it was a lovely house. But it was the grounds that really appealed.
“We brought the kids up there. We had a lot of visitors and some good parties. It was great for entertaining. Our 25th wedding anniversary in 2002 was great – we had 150 people.”
The Faceys left furniture for the charity which is set to use the house for day care and conferences.