Oakhurst House, Ambergate, Derbyshire March 2019

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HughieD

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1. The History
Oakhurst House is a located in the Shining Cliff Woods above the village of Ambergate, Derbyshire. The house was built at a cost of £1,000 (equivalent to just £118,000 in today's monies) in 1848 by industrialist Francis Hurt (1801-1854) behind his forge and was constructed by Robinson of Belper. He built it for his three unmarried daughters Emma, Elizabeth and Selina. The idea was to free-up main residence, Alderwasley Hall, for his male heir. However, his plans back-fired and all three refused to move to their intended home. Hence it was initially leased to one of Hurt's blacksmiths, John Mold, who occupied the house until the forge closed in 1859. Both the house and forge remained vacant until Thewlis Johnson, one half of the Manchester-based Johnson and Nephew wire-works business, purchased the forge in 1876. The house itself remained in the possession of Hurt until 1888 when it was bought by the Midland Railway. The company's architect Charles Trubshaw then extended the house for the company's chief engineer. Already owning the nearby forge, Thewlis Johnson then completed the purchase of Oakhurst in 1893 and the following year got his architect, John Douglas, to extend the house in the neo-Jacobean Arts and Crafts style (as indicated by the 1894 date stone). The house remained in possession of Johnson during the later 19th and early 20th centuries.

Oakhurst in its prime circa 1900:

32544592127_8349f15cbf_b.jpg oakhurst by HughieDW, on Flickr

In the 1924 Oakhurst became a Retreat House for the Diocese of Southwell. Retreats varied from two to five days and Oakhurst fitted its new use perfectly given "one large and handsome upper room has been converted into a comely chapel." It was retained in the use until the outbreak of the second world war in 1939. Immediately after World War 2 had ended the house was divided into 12 flats in response to the post-war housing crisis.

Oakhurst still resembling something of its former glory in 1950:

46570582775_3a282b90e9_b.jpg 2019-03-28_01-22-59 by HughieDW, on Flickr

In the 1970s the deteriorating condition of the building and an increase in local council housing elsewhere meant the residents were found alternative accommodation. Since then, the house has remained unoccupied. With the bankruptcy of the wireworks in 1985, the condition of Oakhurst also took a turn for the worst. In 1994, permission was granted to demolish the house as the house was deemed beyond repair. That permission expired and in 2000 the wireworks and estate were purchased by the Lichfield Group who used the wireworks as industrial storage. Since then the house has fallen further into disrepair and been subject to fires and vandalism.

2. The Explore
Visited in the excellent company of Birkin Glynn. The third in a trio of reports from the Ambergate area and the main reason for making the trip back down here. This place and the wire-works used to get reported on here on a frequent basis then the reports appeared to dry-up around 2011. Recently there have been a few more appearing as the place is very much open. Things have deteriorated since I last visited nearly four years ago but the place remains majestic in its dereliction. Last time I only had a look at the front bit of the house as were a bit pushed for time. However, with more time this time and the spring sun in its prime we gave the place a good going over.

3. The Pictures

Gates of the house:

47422151322_c3712b5f66_b.jpg img0145 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Initial view on approach:

33598360868_008b47ba28_b.jpg img0085 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46751749634_60e0887d7f_b.jpg img0144 by HughieDW, on Flickr

How long before this topples?

47422000332_acb1cd03bb_b.jpg img0088 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This bit looks in reasonable nick but it’s a façade:

47474879401_84c25d06f8_b.jpg img0089bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

Round the back ain’t so good:

40508711673_0008719cca_b.jpg img0094 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47475098081_67eeed7487_b.jpg img0136 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Nor the side:

32532929487_51ba6e8849_b.jpg img0099 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Into the chaos:

46559878105_90ea0826ec_b.jpg img0121 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40515963443_0c911c06ee_b.jpg Oakhurst 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46758603724_209b789739_b.jpg Oakhurst 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Range high’n’dry:

46559501505_37c6460b79_b.jpg img0102 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Chimney stacks still intact:

46751492614_84a08d25af_b.jpg img0103 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46751460864_a466ac6cdd_b.jpg img0107 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Stuff falls down:

40508629933_ec644bb0d8_b.jpg img0110 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Like baths:

40508606983_27df60eea0_b.jpg img0112 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Electrics hanging too:

32532853397_74c8e6e77f_b.jpg img0111 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Precarious:

33605327848_ef274e26a2_b.jpg Oakhurst 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

40508577833_755e8bc238_b.jpg img0115 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Reasonably OK range:

33598643598_22ce7d197d_b.jpg img0119 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Another room at the front:

32533254337_063c35193b_b.jpg img0122 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47475139931_1d82be9655_b.jpg img0124 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Another old bath:

33598605618_face5d609f_b.jpg img0125 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Inner courtyard:

40508982913_e969d89ec0_b.jpg img0126 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47429089732_b6384d59f7_b.jpg Oakhurst 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And back round the front:

46751780094_ceb7f8ee46_b.jpg img0139 by HughieDW, on Flickr

32533162137_44e5084527_b.jpg img0140 by HughieDW, on Flickr

47422178902_63dff3b8b6_b.jpg img0141 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 
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Sabtr

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What could have been..
Such a shame but I guess it's life and not everything is saved.
The daughters? Spoiled brats!!
I think that place won't make it two more years.
 

Hugh Jorgan

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What a shame for this house compared with the "before" photos. The house is falling down and it wont be long before it turns to rubble.
 

HughieD

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What could have been..
Such a shame but I guess it's life and not everything is saved.
The daughters? Spoiled brats!!
I think that place won't make it two more years.

What a shame for this house compared with the "before" photos. The house is falling down and it wont be long before it turns to rubble.

Cheers both. And yes, you are right. It hasn't got too long. Real shame when you see what it used to look like.
 

Mikeymutt

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Even though it's trashed it's still has so much character.renember seeing it for the first time about three year ago and thought wow..fantastic place
 

HughieD

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Even though it's trashed it's still has so much character.renember seeing it for the first time about three year ago and thought wow..fantastic place

Cheers Mikey. Love places like this. That front elevation is really a facade as behind it the place is crumbling.
 

Dirus_Strictus

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The daughters? Spoiled brats!!

Far from it! When this place was built, it was really out in the 'sticks' when compared to the Hall. Typical of how the female side of large, land owning families with male heirs were treated in those days. Nice to see that they stood their ground and weren't prepared to be pushed around.
 

Spencjames81

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I've been to this Oakhurst house quite a few times, i find it such a shame that it's been left to fall to pieces, it's also got quite abit of history to it not just the Hurt family but also john thewlis johnson who owned the wire works, he built a wall garden with heated green houses, boiler house ect, all in ruins but still there top of the hill behind the house, amazing place
 

HughieD

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I've been to this Oakhurst house quite a few times, i find it such a shame that it's been left to fall to pieces, it's also got quite abit of history to it not just the Hurt family but also john thewlis johnson who owned the wire works, he built a wall garden with heated green houses, boiler house ect, all in ruins but still there top of the hill behind the house, amazing place
Didn't know that, will check it out next time I'm up that way, thank you...
 
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