SAVE supports plans to restore Firbeck Hall, South Yorkshire

3 August 2017

SAVE supports plans to restore Firbeck Hall, South Yorkshire

SAVE Britain’s Heritage has written in support of an application to restore Firbeck Hall, a late-sixteenth century country house near Rotherham, in South Yorkshire.

If approved, the proposals will see the house and stables restored as 24 apartments, securing the future of the two Grade II listed buildings which have been on SAVE’s at risk register since 2003.

A modest amount of enabling development – eight homes – will be built on the footprint of modern estate buildings (now derelict), to fund the restoration, and are designed to complement the hall, built in ashlar limestone and with shaped gables.

SAVE believes the restoration proposals are positive and will ensure the listed buildings are saved and have a viable future, and we have written to Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council in support of the application.

Mike Fox, Deputy Director of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, said: “We are delighted to see proposals being brought forwards to restore Firbeck Hall, a fine building that has stood languishing and deteriorating for far too long. In recent years the rate of rate of decay has significantly advanced, and it is essential that restoration works are carried out as soon as possible to prevent the total loss of the building. We look forward to seeing the scheme progress, and we will be watching with close interest.”

The proposals have also attracted the support of the Friends of Firbeck Hall, who have been campaigning for its restoration and reuse since 2009, and who first alerted SAVE to its plight.

Simon Drohan, the Chairman of the Friends of Firbeck Hall, said: “The Friends group has adopted a supportive stance in encouraging the owners and local authority to work together to develop a viable future for the site which would see Firbeck Hall restored, occupied and in regular use, and we are delighted that a detailed planning application has now been submitted.”

Firbeck Hall

Firbeck has a rich and fascinating history dating back to the late-16th century when it was built for William West Snr, the steward to the 5th Earl of Shrewsbury. After passing through several different ownerships, it was substantially remodelled in the mid-nineteenth century leading to the building seen today. The designs are sometimes attributed to Jeffry Wyatville, but it is more likely the work of William Hurst, a Doncaster architect who introduced an abundance of shaped gables to the building, prompting Pevsner to comment that it had been, ‘rudely Elizabethanized’.

In 1935 the hall was purchased by Cyril Nicholson, who spent huge sums (c.£80,000) converting it into an exclusive country club, reworking and redesigning the interiors in Art Deco style. The work was carried out by the Sheffield architects Hadfield and Cawkwell, with decoration by Messrs Heaton Tabb & Co, and it featured in Architecture Illustrated (see images above) and its own Vogue supplement.

It marketed itself as, ‘the most beautifully situated and appointed club in the United Kingdom’, could count the then Prince of Wales as one of its patrons, and had the BBC broadcast its Saturday show ‘Late Night Dance Music’ from the Hall each week during the 1930s.

The good times were not to last however, and with war looming, Nicholson gave the hall over for the war effort, it becoming an outpost for the RAF (the country club had its own aerodrome).

After the war it was used as a as a hospital and convalescent home for injured miners, finally closing in the late 1980s. It has been in a state of decline since this time, and it is currently in a parlous condition requiring extensive restoration.  Sadly, almost all of the fine Art Deco interiors have been lost, although the handsome twisting staircase remains.

The adjacent gate lodge, also Grade II listed and previously on SAVE’s Buildings at Risk register, has recently been restored for residential use.

Notes to editors:

1. The plans can be seen by searching for planning applications RB2017/0875 and RB2017/0890 at

2. SAVE’s Buildings at Risk register is available to Friends and Saviours of SAVE. For more information click here.

3. More information about the Friends of Firbeck Hall can be seen on their website here.

4. For more on the history of the hall, see The Country Seat's 2010 article here.