By Anne Akers
In the space of a couple of years, the Grade 1* Calverley Old Hall has gone from being an almost derelict leaky building to a place with a bright and rosy future where tourists will spend their holidays – and locals can enjoy a community room.
The Hall, on Woodhall Road, dates back to the 12th century, has been everything from a grand manor house for the Calverley family, complete with its own chapel, to a farm and cottages before falling into disrepair, with thieves helping themselves to stone, and landing on English Heritage’s At Risk register.
The Landmark Trust, a charity which rescues historic buildings to make them available for holiday rental, bought it in 1981, renting out newer cottages attached to the historic hall once existing tenants had moved on. A successful bid to the National Lottery secured £1.6million in 2022 to transform the entire building into a remarkable space for up to ten people to stay. In addition the funding provided for a community room to be made available to groups in the village.
As the refurbishment has progressed, the trust has held open days to showcase sympathetic renovation and historic finds, including a very rare Tudor wallpainting, which will be a feature of one of the bedrooms. There have also been workshops on the care and repair of historic buildings, craft days and opportunities to gain work experience and potentially take on apprenticeships.
The Hall will be able to accommodate wheelchair users and will be heated 21st century style with a sustainable ground source heating system.
The Trust is hoping work will be finished ready for tourists later in 2024.