Sheffield steel baron's hunting lodge in new shot at survival with wedding venue and holiday accommodation plans

The owner of a Sheffield steel baron’s hunting lodge is trying again to turn it into £5m holiday accommodation and a wedding venue.
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Thornseat Lodge Ltd has resubmitted plans for a building of the same name high on the moors above Bradfield. They include a ‘suite of green measures’ in a second attempt at winning approval for the scheme after the Peak District National Park Authority threw out a proposal last year.

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At the time councillors said it would ‘harm’ the building, landscape, tranquility and dark skies. It did not ‘mitigate the impacts of climate change’ and would ‘exacerbate the impact of traffic’.

The new plan promises to reuse more of the existing materials in the stone structure.
Pic by Gina PhillipsThe new plan promises to reuse more of the existing materials in the stone structure.
Pic by Gina Phillips
The new plan promises to reuse more of the existing materials in the stone structure. Pic by Gina Phillips
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The new plan is for the restoration and extension of the lodge and a new events venue and bunkhouse all served by a biomass heating system. It would use sheep’s wool insulation and triple-glazed windows and re-use more of the crumbling stonework.

The lodge was sold to Sheffield Corporation in 1934 and last used in 1980. Today, after standing empty for 42 years, it is a wreck on the way to ruin.

Rachel Woodhouse-Hague, of MHH Contracting Ltd, said they hoped they had addressed all the concerns. She added: “If this last bid is unsuccessful the site will be pushed farther into decay whilst we are forced to spend further time and financial resources, which could be far better spent on starting the careful but slow process of restoring this once thriving site and bringing it back into use, on ascertaining if any alternate solutions exist.

How Thornseat Lodge could look.How Thornseat Lodge could look.
How Thornseat Lodge could look.

“This project has been the brainchild of a family who have years of experience in the Peak District, both in terms of redevelopment of historic buildings into residential housing and tourism usage. The entire plans for the site have been conceived with a kid glove approach for what this family regard as a hugely important building within our heritage, we remain convinced that this is the most fitting and appropriate use for it and for future generations to enjoy it.”

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Thornseat Lodge, off Mortimer Road, was built in 1855 for Sidney Jessop, son of the founder of Sheffield steel-making firm William Jessop and Sons. Website houseandheritage.org states that as early as 1858 Sidney was entertaining parties of 50 gentlemen for the ‘Glorious Twelfth’.

In 1928 the contents were auctioned off and soon after the house and estate were sold to a property investment company. In 1934 it was bought by Sheffield Corporation and when war loomed, in May 1939 it was announced that Thornsett Lodge would house infants from Herries Road Nursery ‘in case of emergency’.

The ambition is to build a large wedding and function hall on the former stableyard.The ambition is to build a large wedding and function hall on the former stableyard.
The ambition is to build a large wedding and function hall on the former stableyard.

A swimming pool was built in 1973 when it was described as a home for 16 'emotionally disturbed' children. By 1978 it was listed as an Intermediate Treatment Centre accommodating 12 young people. It closed in 1980. In 2004, the council sold it to Hague Plant Excavations Ltd and in June 2016 a new company was formed called Thornseat Lodge Ltd.

Today the roof is nearly gone. Stacks of slipped tiles teeter above crumbling walls. One of two dormer windows has fallen, leaving a radiator suspended in mid-air. The interior is a chaotic mix of timbers, masonry and vegetation dotted with holes. The best preserved element is a castellated square tower.

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