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Thread: Bradgate Stables, Leicestershire, June 2019

  1. #1
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    Default Bradgate Stables, Leicestershire, June 2019


    1. The History
    Initially information was hard to find on this place which was a bit surprising giving the size of it and its former house. But after repeated searching I eventually found one document that turned out to be the holy grail. The document in question was TR Project's Historic Building Assessment (under instruction from The University of Leicester) which can be found HERE

    Even more interesting is the reference in this document to two thick files of archive material on the stables including numerous archive pictures held in storage by Hinckley and Bosworth borough Council.

    The stables were linked to Bradgate House located near Groby, Leicester. They were both built in the 1850s, for George Harry Grey, Seventh Earl of Stamford. Referred to as the Calendar House because it had 365 windows, 52 rooms, and 12 main chimneys, it had a relatively short life when it was demolished in 1926, outlived by its elaborate stables, which are now in a ruinous and dilapidated condition.

    Bradgate house:

    Bradgate house by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The stables are situated 400m north-west of the present Bradgate House. The large inter-war domestic residence, which was extended with a range of additional office ranges, was built on the site of the former house circa 1932. This was most recently used by Bradgate Security Ltd but was vacated in 2017 when the company was dissolved and now lies in an abandoned state.

    The stables were built by M.J.Dain of 'Dain and Parsons, London' in 1856 in a mock Jacobean style to house the Earlís 47 horses. It was built on a lavish scale at a cost thought to be around £30,000 in old money when the Earl was made Master of Quorn Hunt in that year (a position he held until 1863). In its heyday the stable building was fronted by spacious kitchen gardens and a cluster of large glasshouses. Inside it boasted four accommodation blocks, a carriage house, no fewer than five haylofts, a forge and shoeing box, three tack rooms, and a boiler house with drying room over. The centre-piece is the south-facing entrance clock tower with its large marble panel containing the arms of the Earl of Stamford including a wyvern and a unicorn. These are all indicated in the plan here:

    20190619_081734 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    In 1861 records noted that 19 grooms and coachmen were in residence in the stables. After the Earl quit the hunt the main usage of the stables disappeared, but despite this sometime between 1871 and 1877 Lord Stamford built a small gas plant behind the north-east corner of the complex to provide gas lighting to the stables. However, as early as 1881 the stables usage was in decline with only 7 people in residence.

    Two archive picture of the stables back in their heyday, circa 1870-90:

    20190619_082014 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    20190617_121636 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The ex-cricketer and House of Lords Whig Earl died in 1883, survived by his second wife, Catherine. On her death in in 1905 and being childless from both marriages, the estate passed to his niece. When she sold the estate in 1925 the house was bought by an architectural salvage company and demolished. The stables failed to find a buyer so for the next few years they were leased out to the Leicester-based The Greyhound Racing Association. The stables were put on the market again in 1928 but failed to sell again. After that records get a bit sketchy. However in the early 1960s the stables and the adjacent quarry were acquired by Redlands Aggregates who used the stables for vehicle and plant storage. A 1969 aerial photograph shows all the roofs intact bar the north-west corner.

    Archive photos for the 1980s show a significant decline in the condition of the stable block. In November 1988, the stables were included on the Department of the Environment's Statutory List of Buildings of Architectural and historic Significance. Following the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England survey in 1992, attempts to rescue the building proved to be non-viable. Looking at pictures on the web, scaffolding appears to have gone up on the site sometime around 1992, which would explain why it is a little bit rusty. However, the clock tower was earlier scaffolded back in the 1980s. Archived photographic records indicate that the clock mechanism was in situ as late as 1993.

    In 2002 a decision was made to remove the remaining collapsed roof structures and reduce the building to the parts that were capable of being stabilised with minimum intervention. This also resulted in the removal of all existing free-standing gable walls and chimney flues. The five-bay carriage house that formed the main feature of the North Range has been largely destroyed, with only two cast-iron columns surviving. Most recently, in 2010 the Victorian society named it as one of the 10 most endangered buildings in England and Wales.

    The shell of the house today as viewed on Google Maps:

    2019-06-18_12-57-15 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    2. The Explore
    This is my take on this enchanting place, following on from BikinGlynn excellent earlier report. This place was completely off the radar until it was brought my attention by BikinGlyn. Having researched it, we arranged to meet up and explore it. We had to park close on to a mile away and walk back along the A50. However, rather than take the direct route along the approach lane we dived into the undergrowth and cut across country and most definitely took the scenic route on the way in. In the end we neednít have worried as we didnít see a soul apart from the cows in the field that surround the stables.

    The place itself is fantastic. Itís highly photogenic, bar the aforementioned supporting scaffold lattice that surrounds the buildings. However, without which the place would have long become a pile of red bricks. Think it's the first time it's been reported on here.

    3. The Photos
    Apologies. Got a bit carried away with this place.

    Gate in the woods on the way in:

    Bradgate Hall Stables 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    External elevation of the east wing;

    Bradgate Hall Stables 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And internal elevation:

    img1252 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    View through the trees:

    img1321 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Some approach:

    img1299 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Front elevations of the entrance:

    Bradgate Hall Stables 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Bradgate Hall Stables 29 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    The glorious clock tower:

    img1295 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Close-ups of the coat of arms:

    img1293bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1296 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Think this post is to stop carriages damaging the brick-work:

    img1280 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Spiral staircase in the clock tower:

    Bradgate Hall Stables 21 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Further up said stair case:

    Bradgate Hall Stables 23 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And at the top:

    Bradgate Hall Stables 24 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Bradgate Hall Stables 25 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Some of the original floor tiling:

    Bradgate Hall Stables 22 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Looking down on the entrance way:

    Bradgate Hall Stables 27 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Two views of the clock tower from the court-yard:

    Bradgate Hall Stables 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Bradgate Hall Stables 08 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Some removed chimney pots in the courtyard:

    img1256 by HughieDW, on Flickr



    Dutch gable of the west wing:

    Bradgate Hall Stables 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Water fountain set into the west wing:

    img1246 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Two pictures from inside the west wing:

    Bradgate Hall Stables 10 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Bradgate Hall Stables 13 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    West wing spiral staircase:

    Bradgate Hall Stables 12 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And a small fireplace:

    img1249 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Close-up of a brick from the local Leicester company that supplied them:

    Bradgate Hall Stables 11 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Left-hand-side of the coach house:

    Bradgate Hall Stables 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    View from the second-storey of the left hand tower that flanks the coach house:

    Bradgate Hall Stables 09 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    And the opposite tower:

    Bradgate Hall Stables 16 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    img1241 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Looking towards the west wing:

    Bradgate Hall Stables 17 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Water tower in the right hand tower:

    Bradgate Hall Stables 18 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Small room at the back of the right-hand tower:

    Bradgate Hall Stables 19 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Inside where the coach house would have been looking south:

    Bradgate Hall Stables 14 by HughieDW, on Flickr

    Possibly my favourite picture of the day of this enchanting place:

    img1275 by HughieDW, on Flickr

  2. Thanks given by: banshee, Hugh Jorgan, KJurbex, Mearing, Mikeymutt, ocelot397, Old Wilco, One eyed Spaniel, serendipitylojo, smiler, stu8fish, The Wombat, WhiteStag13
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  4. #2
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    It's good to see it hasn't degraded much at all in the five years since I went!

  5. Thanks given by: HughieD
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    A well researched and fascinating history. Having the old layout plan alongside has helped breathe some life into an otherwise empty shell, though it's one of the grandest stable blocks I've seen. What's on the cards? Renovation? Preservation?
    Hoocha

  7. Thanks given by: HughieD
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    What a beautiful place. Must have been stunning, thanks for the history.

  9. Thanks given by: HughieD
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    You made a grand job a'that Hughie, Thanks
    Smiler
    😁

  11. Thanks given by: HughieD
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    would have been a pleasure to build that :)
    'one step away from you'

  13. Thanks given by: HughieD
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    I really do like this place. Great report Hughie and well wrote out as usual.
    I like to go where others fear to tread.

  15. Thanks given by: HughieD
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    Quote Originally Posted by ocelot397 View Post
    It's good to see it hasn't degraded much at all in the five years since I went!
    Im surprised it really dosent feel safe in places lol
    What the hell am I doing, I mean really at my age!

  17. Thanks given by: HughieD
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    Excellent stuff sir. This just came onto my radar whilst researching another place. Glad I found your report, cos I was pondering on the best route of access.

  19. Thanks given by: HughieD
  20. #10
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    Cheers folks.

    Quote Originally Posted by waveydave View Post
    Excellent stuff sir. This just came onto my radar whilst researching another place. Glad I found your report, cos I was pondering on the best route of access.
    Cheers mate. Well worth a visit, even via the scenic route!

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