Writer Peter Feek finds that history story begins on his historic Rotherham doorstep
A retired assistant headteacher has penned a revealing insight into the people who have lived in one of Rotherham’s little-known stately homes.
Peter Feek could have chronicled his own life in the book, Thundercliffe Grange – An eclectic history of a house and its people. The Georgian grade II-listed manor has been his home since 1980.
He was among a group of friends and work colleagues who bought the Grange and its land, hidden away between Thorpe Hesley, Kimberworth and Shiregreen, when it was put up for sale by the local health authority for £80,000.
The health authority had used the Grange as a residential home and school for children with severe disabilities from about 1950 until 1978. Since then, the families who took it on have painstakingly maintained and restored it.
“It is a unique and beautiful place to live. We are hopefully keeping a piece of Rotherham’s past alive,” said Eastwood-born Peter, 72.
His near-40-year teaching career spanned South Grove School in Rotherham, Park House in Tinsley, Hinde House in Shiregreen and Newfield School in Norton Lees.
Peter decided to write the story of the house while researching his family history in Rotherham Archives.
“I found an editor’s comment from an 1876 edition of the Rotherham Advertiser which said: “We cannot forget that Rotherham and its immediate neighbourhood has an unwritten history of which Rotherham men need not be ashamed. The only reproach is that it is unwritten,” he said.
“I wanted to be a part of telling that history. Rotherham has gone through difficult times in recent years. It has a past to be proud of and I believe encouraging a sense of pride in where we live is really important to a community.”
He realised the place to start was his own doorstep.
The book is on sale, priced £11, from Clifton Museum, Rotherham Tourism Office and via www.thundercliffe grange.co.uk