Other Cool Things
In the late 1980s I became aware of Barlaston Hall, Staffordshire, England, and attributed to Sir Robert Taylor.
A group called SAVE was fighting desperately to stop the house from being demolished. This was not an easy fight as most people thought the house was more ruin than habitable structure. Considering the condition of the house, this was not an entirely unreasonable attitude.
The exterior of the Grade 1 house did not look too bad, but the interior was a moldering, partially collapsed, decaying scene of utter devastation. (England has a commendable rating system for structures. Grade I is rare and is reserved for buildings of exceptional interest.)
SAVE was at long last able to purchase the house for a token one pound. They then put a roof on the house, restored the exterior, and windows. Thus, the house now had a pristine exterior, but still with an interior of utter devastation. They listed the house for 300,000 pounds.
James and Carol Hall saw the ad, thought the price a steal for a Grade 1-listed house, and went to take a peek. They were of course aware that something had to be amiss, and so were not entirely surprised by the condition of the interior. James thought Carol was “barking mad” to still want the house, but as she later stated: “It had a roof, it had windows and we could just about afford it. Luckily, because it’s Grade 1-listed, we knew that we’d get some support from English Heritage.”
And so the Hall’s purchased the house. The couple lived on the ground floor while the upper floors underwent a five-year-long restoration.
In the mid-1990s, I was going through my collection of old SAVE publications and thought: Whatever happened to Barlaston Hall? The last thing I knew, SAVE was still trying to keep the house from being demolished. I assumed it now had been demolished. I could not find anything out, so made an expensive call to SAVE in England. And could not have more startled by the response: “Oh, the Hall was purchased by a couple, and has been restored.”
My heart soared. My blood pulsed. My joy was great.
But I could find NOTHING about the restoration. This was quite vexing!
So the years passed.
Then, last week, I accidentally discovered that Barlastion Hall was for sale! And there were images!!!!!!!!
THE BEFORE TOUR
THE AFTER TOUR
So, I spent thirty years staring at the above images. Thirty years!
Thus, imagine my great thrill at seeing:
The resurrection of Barlaston Hall proves, once again, that no structure is beyond salvation. Too often, historic structures across the globe in MUCH better shape than Barlaston hall are deemed “unrestorable” and demolished.
My soul is pained by such thoughtless and shortsighted destruction of our architectural and cultural heritage. In my own lifetime I can think of hundreds of incredible structures which have been lost. Ironically, had most of these structures survived just a few decades longer, each would be cherished today.
What SAVE went through to save Barlaston Hall is an epic story in itself. A nice summary is told here.
James and Carol Hall, their children now grown, have put Barlaston Hall on the market. It can be yours for 2.3 million pounds (or about $3.6 million US).
The BEFORE images are by SAVE.
The AFTER images, and floor plans, are by Knight Frank.