Thornsett Lodge, Bradfield Dale, South Yorks, October 2019

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People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
1. The History
Situated along the Strines Road from Midhopestones to the start of the Snake Pass near the Yorkshire Bridge, Thornsett Lodge is two thirds of the way, near the turn off for Low Bradfield. It was originally built in 1855 by an architect unknown for Sidney Jessop on 102 acres of land sold to him by Joseph Hammerton earlier in 1852. It was built as a shooting lodge and Summer retreat for Jessop, son of Willian Jessop of crucible steel-making fame and founder of William Jessop and Sons in Brightside, Sheffield, in 1830. Shortly after its completion, the construction of a reservoir at Dale Dyke was started in 1859, close to the house in the valley below. The reservoir filled up in 1863 and in 1864 its embankment collapsed leading to the great flood of Sheffield and the loss of 240 lives. This prompted Sidney to try and sell the stigmatized lodge in 1869 but when it failed to sell he hung on to it until his death in 1871, aged 62.

It was then inherited by his better-known and more out-going elder brother Thomas Jessop who, ironically was the Mayor of Sheffield during the great flood. Also remembered for his generous donations to the Jessop Hospital for Women in Sheffield, Thomas made a number of improvements to the property as he spent the long summers and the grouse-shooting season in the lodge.

Thomas Jessop, as painted by Hugh Ford Crighton:

48841242457_5ba81216d5_z.jpgThomas Jessop (1804-1887), Founder of the Hospital (1846). by HughieDW, on Flickr

On his passing in 1887 at the age of 83 it then passed to his only son, William, until his untimely death in 1905 just eight years later. He died at the lodge which he had made his permanent home during his final year. The use of the lodge was left to his second wife, Frances Watson, with the instruction for it to pass to his son, Thomas when he reached 23. Records show that in 1908 the lodge was offered on a yearly tenancy agreement. The advert makes reference to 3 recepiton rooms and 12 bedrooms. Thomas married in 1909, aged 21, and given the lodge was unoccupied, spent his honeymoon there in July. Having thought in the first world war, Thornsett lodge remained in his ownership but by the 1920s was being used by the Bradfield Game Association for shooting.

In 1928 the contents of the lodge were auctioned off. Shortly after the lodge itself was sold to a Lincolnshire-based property investment company. The lodge was then made available for let in 1933. A year later in 1934 it was sold to Sheffield Corporation who used it for offices. At the outbreak of the Second World War it was announced that children from Sheffield City Council’s children home on Herries Road were to be evacuated here. After the war it became a secondary home to the council’s cottage homes in Fulwood, some 9 miles away. For some reason it also seems to have had a name change to Thornseat lodge. In 1949, the superintendent and matron at Fulwood, Lionel and Freda Hildreth, held the same positions at Thornsett Lodge.

Children at Thornsett lodge in 1956:

48841060536_af4037b770_z.jpgThornsett Lodge archive by HughieDW, on Flickr

In 1973 a swimming pool at the rear had been added and the lodge was described as a mixed-sex home for 16 emotionally-disturbed or ‘difficult’ children. It remained as one up until the early 1980's before the cash-strapped council moth-balled the lodge. It was still used in the early 1990s by the Sheffield Gingerbread Group as a getaway for low-income families. Sadly as the end of the century approached lack of maintenance led to the condition of the property to worsten. Empty and deteriorating, the lodge was bought in 2004 by Hague Plant Excavations Ltd, who also own the old waterworks in Lower Bradfield. In recent years parts of the roof have been removed causing serious water damage and the thieves and vandals have stolen some stone and any valuable metals they could find. It’s now just a matter of time before it falls down.

There's a really interesting thread on Sheffield Forum HERE of people reminiscing about the happy times they spent at the lodge.

2. The Explore
This place has cropped up only occasionally on the forum, perhaps due to its remote location. I last visited this place over five years ago so thought it was rude not to pop in given I was passing. It was in a poor state back in 2014 and predictably it's deteriorated more since then. It's pretty easy to access, however, like the waterworks down the road, it's now been fitted with CCTV cameras and some incredibly annoying loudspeaker system. While nothing epic and difficult to access now the floors have fallen through it was worth an hour of our time. Plus it encouraged me to do a proper history research on the place.

3. The Pictures

The lodge rises up nicely from the road:

48841226211_c83a09230f_b.jpgimg9267 by HughieDW, on Flickr

There's a number of out buildings - this is the former ice house:

48841398942_2aaf43dc8b_b.jpgimg9264 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And an old barn:

48840858508_6fe953220d_b.jpgimg9259 by HughieDW, on Flickr

An outside bath:

48841399162_1b1e9f4781_b.jpgimg9260 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Side view:

48835750506_2943f27fea_b.jpgimg3516 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The rear view showing the old swimming pool:

48841399762_db3b82f01e_b.jpgimg9253 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48835380753_b66b92b527_b.jpgimg3515 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48835391243_33c260d2c8_b.jpgimg3501 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Some externals from the front:

48835385608_538b2007bf_b.jpgimg3510 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48840861368_655ebe151a_b.jpgimg9228 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The carving here appears to say "WJ" which would be for Willian Jessop, rather than "SJ" for Sidney Jessop.

48835757986_5f861ee87d_b.jpgimg3508 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Some lovely gable end carving here:

48835758626_350b698c0d_b.jpgimg3506 by HughieDW, on Flickr
48835759516_7058cea912_b.jpgimg3505 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48835935142_f85f0c3f81_b.jpgimg3502 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Inside it's a real mess:

48835760386_ea1e72f20b_b.jpgimg3504 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48841400537_c320b5e37b_b.jpgimg9239 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48841228381_fb1113c1aa_b.jpgimg9236 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48840860513_ac493df54a_b.jpgimg9232 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Funny how the radiators always stay in place!

48835931232_cdbbe3067d_b.jpgimg3509 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48835926937_799b82ea2c_b.jpgimg3514 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48835384808_26c3fd97ef_b.jpgimg3511 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48835383133_eb4f910689_b.jpgimg3513 by HughieDW, on Flickr

48835928982_a76143cc79_b.jpgimg3512 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Didn't go down the cellars this time but here's one from the first time I went:

48840859188_59d96acd22_b.jpgimg9242 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Finally a view over Dale Dike and the cause of the great Sheffield flood of 1864:

48835379313_c57b2f6943_b.jpgimg3517 by HughieDW, on Flickr


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Thats a little gem again, love the radiator shot!


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Apr 2, 2007
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Wow what a history! I love the stone monographs over the windows, what a beauty, thanks for sharing :)