A glimpse into Winstanley's recent history: some photos of the Hall and courtyard in better days

5 October 2012

SAVE was absolutely delighted to receive a lovely letter last week from Sheila Gummerson, the daughter of the Bankes family chauffeur and cook, who grew up and lived on the Winstanley Estate for the first 27 years of her life from 1942 - 1969. She spent the first few years of her life living at Winstanley Cottage, which is situated just outside the courtyard, and from there moved to one of the Up Holland Lodges which was also part of the Winstanley estate.

Mrs Gummerson says that for her Winstanley is 'brimming with very happy memories' and in her letter fondly described the annual 'Daffodil Days' held each spring and how smart her father looked in his livery when was driving the Bankes family around. She writes about an idyllic childhood spent playing on the estate, climbing trees and cycling up and down the mile-long drive.

She still lives locally in Standish but says she still thinks of the estate as home and tells people that's where she's from. Although she has thought continually about visiting the hall for a sentimental tour she has not been back since 1978 as she thought it would be too upsetting given the condition of the place. She is delighted and excited that SAVE is campaigning for Winstanley's future and wants to see the hall and courtyard buildings restored and reused.

In her letter Mrs Gummerson kindly sent enclosed some historic photos of Winstanley and of her childhood there. We are very grateful to her for allowing us to share them with you on our website. We hope you enjoy looking at them as much as we did. Two of the photos show the Neptune fountain working with water spraying out of the horses' nostrils and also from Neptune's crown!

It is lovely to see a photo of the Hall in use with its windows in place standing proudly in the park. It is wonderful to hear from someone who lived on the estate and whose family worked there. Buildings are of course all about the people who lived and worked in them and enjoyed them, and we are so pleased that people who have a personal connection with the Hall are coming forward in support of the campaign to save Winstanley. Mrs Gummerson said the Hall is not known very well locally and that there is a real curiosity in the site and its history. We hope that our campaign and our plans for its future will change this.