We were invited to a tour of Bridgford Hall prior to the refurbishment and transformation that has recently started – here are some amazing pictures.
Tour of Bridgford Hall
Bridgford Hall was listed as Grade II in 1949, making it one of the earliest listed buildings in the country. Construction of the Hall began in 1768 by Mundy Musters, and after his death was completed under the supervision of his son, John. The resulting hall is believed to have been finished in 1774.
In 1805 John (or Jack) Musters, Lord of the Manor at West Bridgford, married Mary Chaworth of Annesley Hall. Mary Chaworth – Lord Byron’s Mary – is said to have first met with Mr. Musters at West Bridgford Hall. Lord Byron wrote the poem Fragment about Mary shortly after her marriage to Musters.
The Chaworths and the Musters were prominent Nottinghamshire families and their union brought together a number of large estates – Annesley Hall, Colwick Hall, Wiverton Hall, Edwalton Manor and Felley Priory. Annesley remained the family’s primary seat until the 19th Century, rendering Bridgford Hall virtually redundant some 30 years after it was built.
Little else is known about the period between Bridgford Hall’s original construction date and the late 19th century, when it was sold to Albert Heymann, a wealthy lace manufacturer in 1883, the time when West Bridgford saw a huge upsurge in residential developments.
Much of West Bridgford was previously part of the Hall’s estate and this legacy can be seen in many of the street names for example – many of which are named after the former residents of the Hall e.g. Musters Road, Chaworth Road.
[su_note note_color=”#18277a” text_color=”#ffffff” radius=”1″]In 1894, West Bridgford was designated an urban district with its own elected council following the passing of the Local Government Act that year. The West Bridgford Urban District Council purchased Bridgford Hall in 1923 and set up their headquarters there.[/su_note]
The new Local Government Act passed in 1972 created the Borough of Rushcliffe, in which West Bridgford remains today. When Rushcliffe Borough Council moved to the Bridgford House Hotel at Trent Bridge in 1982 part of the Hall was converted into the Registrar’s Office.
The Borough Council has let the hall to Nottinghamshire County Council since 1982 who and remained tenants for 30 years. In early 2012, Nottinghamshire County Council vacated most of the property with just the Registrar’s Office remaining on the ground floor. In January 2014, the Registrar’s office left, leaving the Hall vacant.
Phases of original construction
The main central pile of Bridgford Hall was built between c.1768 and 1774.
The smaller size of the windows (the frames and glazing of which is modern) in the former billiards room and the more ornate brickwork indicates that this extension was constructed at a later date than the main house. It is likely to date from around the mid-19th century.
A photograph shows a one-storey extension off the south-west elevation of the original main pile. The photograph indicates that the extension was only half the depth of the main house, judging by its hipped roof. The windows are set notably lower than the main ground floor windows.The photograph is dated c.1900 but it is more likely to pre-date 1889.
The photograph also shows a now-lost conservatory between the main house and billiards room.
The date shown on the down pipe brackets indicate that the south-west extension was raised by an additional two storeys by 1889. There is no obvious external scarring between the ground and first floor where the earlier extension was raised.
Surprisingly, however, there is a difference in the brickwork between the first and second floors. It is not clear why: it may be that the extension upwards was done in phases.
Similar discrepancies in the stables brickwork indicates that this was another separate building phase.
From c. 1923 onwards, a number of minor internal alterations have been made to the hall.These include new partition walls, suspended ceilings and decorative changes throughout.The link between the main block and the billiards room was also extended to include the WCs.