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Shipley Park - Miller-Mundy Memories

w/e 07 October 2007
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
Miller-Mundy Memories Title Panel

Part 10 - Home From Home

Doubling BackShipley Hall SiteWe left Part 9 of our walk by turning our backs on the site of Shipley Hall (left) and heading towards Home Farm (right). We now have the choice of two routes but the direct route is marked in red on the map below. The alternative way ( marked in yellow) would be to retrace our steps by which we approached the Hall in Part 6 back to Coach Road and then head off down the hill towards Derby Lodge.
Route Map

The dotted green line on the map shows the route we followed in previous parts from Coach Road, through the Hall and off around the hill top to return via the Water Tower.

Coach Road to Beggars Walk

The yellow route would take us back between the gate posts and along Coach Road as far as some rough steps up into the trees. Then the path swings around to the left to follow a grassy path that at one time ran by a row of workers' cottages that were built of stone and brick from the old hall before it was rebuilt.

Beggars Walk

Whichever route is followed, red or yellow, they both arrive at this point. With Home Farm visible on the left, the grassy path to the right that ran by the cottages became known as Beggars Walk. This is because the path was used by poor people who were welcomed at the Hall and visited the kitchens for handouts of hot drinks, bread, broth and any number of kitchen scraps.

The dairy at Home Farm, seen here in two views at different angles through the same gate, doubled as a church complete with stained glass windows that depicted the four seasons. The dairy/church has now been converted like all of the other buildings at the farm, into a private residence so I am unable to say whether the windows survived the transformation.
Home Farm

The farm was built in 1860 by architect William Nesfield as a show or model farm displaying a progressive attitude towards architectural and farming practices but one of its main purposes was to impress visitors. Other working as opposed to show farms on the Shipley Estate were named Flatmeadow Farm, Prospect Farm and Head House Farm. After the Miller-Mundys sold the estate to the Shipley Colliery Company, Home Farm operated as a private concern between 1922 and 1965 but lay derelict after that until 1984.

It was then resurrected until 1993 as a Working Holiday Educational Farm and many children enjoyed a touch of rural life during that time. The only animals to be seen within the confines of the former farmyard now are two or three goats. There is a ghostly tale told about a young girl in a well but ghosts and goats apart, the farm buildings now comprise several highly desirable private residences.
The Gardens House

A left turn out of the Home Farm entrance leads to the Gardens House and in the last part I wrote "We should get a better view of the house in Part 10". This is it although I should point out that this view is not generally available and permission must be sought to see the house from this position. The Green Health Partnership was set up in 1999 and operates from the building. It consists of three organisations working together to combine conservation and mental health expertise. The house was built in 1822 when it was called Sunflower Lodge. Built in a Mock Tudor style for the widow of Edward (that's the 1st Edward - see family history in Part 6) who refused to live there saying that it was, when compared to the hall, "too small". Instead it became home of the head gardener with a new name of the Gardens House.

The Gardens and Cob House

The family crest of the spotted wolf is still prominent on the building but the sunflower motif that once adorned the lightning conductor has long since disappeared. This must be one of the spookiest places on the estate for as well as the girl in the well mentioned previously, the Gardens House is also reputed to be haunted. It is widely thought that John Tallack, head gardener between 1900 and 1909, hung himself on the stairs but I am reliably informed that he actually poisoned himself in the stables. Stairs or stables, several people who have worked in the building are not ashamed to admit feeling uncomfortable and of experiencing unexplained happenings when they have been alone inside.

As an aside before leaving the Gardens House it is worth mentioning a structure in the grounds. An adjacent information board is headed "The Cob Shelter Project 2005" and says that the building was constructed between July and November in that year by volunteers at the Green Health Partnership. The shelter was constructed from a traditional building material called cob. This is a mixture of earth, sand, straw and water which was covered by an earth plaster also made from local materials. The shelter was then decorated by artwork created specifically for the building including terracotta floor tiles, wooden door panels, stained glass windows and even a weathervane complete with a sunflower motif at the top as an acknowledgement of the Gardens House original name.

But moving on, we now return down the lane as far as the entrance to Home Farm.
Flatmeadow Farm

Opposite the entrance to the farm a new fence has been constructed with an access way not only to an area of land used by the Green Health Partnership called the Lower Nursery but also through to a new footpath that runs behind the hedge on the right of this picture. The new path is already being referred to as the Miller-Mundy Walk. In the distance towards the northwest the buildings that can be seen are at Flatmeadow Farm whilst Prospect Farm is out of sight further to the left. The other farm mentioned earlier, Head House Farm is on the southern side of the estate.
Kitchen Garden

The Lower Nursery with its poly-tunnel and greenhouses also has a number of terraced beds for both flowers and vegetables but a lack of funding has resulted in the site becoming overgrown. Funding has now been secured by the Green Health Partnership for the next two or three years and work has started in earnest to reclaim the land, make it self sufficient and be profitable by 2010. The site now operating as the Shipley LaneLower Nursery was created by John Tallack in the early 1900s as a kitchen and herb garden to supply the needs of the Miller-Mundys living in the Hall and probably other workers on the estate too not forgetting those poor people who traipsed up Beggars Walk. Over 100 years later Mr. Tallack's legacy is still being put to good use.

Well we didn't quite reach Derby Lodge in this part but as we continue from the Kitchen Garden either along the new footpath or down the lane (right) we'll soon be there and that is were we'll continue the walk in Part 11.

Back to Part 9 - Gardens And Glass ------ Forward to Part 11 - Way Back.
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