Commercial premises

Feb 27th, 2011 | | Commercial premises | 4 Comments

Norwood House, Beverley

Norwood House was built in the late 1750s by Jonathan Midgley, a successful lawyer and three times Mayor of Beverley, in East Yorkshire. Originally erected beside the Beverley Assembly Rooms, the centre of the social life in the town, it was in effect a country house set in parkland, but scaled down to fit onto a town site.

The Drawing Room has an important Rococo ceiling based on Colen Campbell’s design for a ceiling for Compton Place, Eastbourne. Palladian overdoor and marble mantel with stucco overmantel containing a composition of cherubs’ heads. The stucco work is in the style of Joseph Page of Hull. The doorcases are derived from a plate in William Kent’s Designs of Inigo Jones.

Cherubs’ Heads Overmantel

When Midgley died in 1778 his estate passed to his wife and eventually to his youngest daughter Mary. She had married William Beverley from Virginia in North America, a cousin of George Washington. William also became Mayor of Beverley and later Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding. He was a supporter of William Wilberforce in his opposition to the slave trade and held strong liberal views.

It was during Beverley’s occupation that the house and estate were enlarged and various alterations were carried out. In 1825 the NE wing was added with its magnificent neo-Grecian style Library. It is possibly at the same time that the Drawing Room windows on the garden front were lowered and a wider opening made between this room and the one in front. William became insolvent, however and was forced to flee the country in 1833, dying in Paris ten years later.

Neo-Grecian Library

Norwood House was sold to Henry Broadley, who was MP for the East Riding, and it was occupied by his sister Sophia. At his death in 1851 she moved out and the house was let to a series of tenants for the next fifty years.

In 1907 the house and garden was bought by the East Riding County Council for the building of a new High School for Girls. Several alterations took place, including the replacement of the original SE wing and a new kitchen, built between this and the Library. Having once housed a number of boarders the need diminished as public transport in the area improved and the role of the house changed. It was used for a time as a Sixth Form Centre and the Library continued to be used as such until 2000. The house has been empty for the last ten years.

The house was sold to the Brantingham Group in 2009 after a voluntary group, Norwood House Ltd., had failed to find a commercial use for the building. Fortunately it has now emerged as a very successful restaurant and tea rooms.

Cross Section of paint from the Drawing Room walls

I was asked to provide advice on some technical issues and to suggest appropriate paint colours and types.

Norwood House Library

Norwood House - Drawing Room
Drawing Room

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Comments (4)

Nathalie PorcherNo Gravatar » 17. Mar, 2011

I used to live in Beverley High School ( and thus Norwood House ) in the early eighties as a french assistant ; I must say that the house lacked a proper heating system but the atmosphere was so warm in there !
There was the story about a little girl who had died while falling from a ( stupid ) door giving out on the second floor . and this little girl was said to be a very mischievious but nice little ghost ; so whenever anything disappeared in the house we would accuse her and laugh … And the missing object would come back to somewhere it should never have been …. but in this case aren’t all houses and flats haunted ?
anyway , thank you for this article and the pics about the house of so many good memories ! I was happily surprised to discover it !
thank you so much .
best ,
Nathalie porcher .

PatrickNo Gravatar » 17. Mar, 2011

What a charming story. Indeed, when visiting the house I heard tale of the ghost. I think that there is even a statue of the little girl in the grounds.

Lyn CollingwoodNo Gravatar » 12. Jan, 2013

Dear Mr Baty
Today, we visited Norwood House. What a charming place. I was particularly bowled over with the choice of paint colour. I favour grey often in various aspects of my life. I noted that mention was given to you in this regard. We are returning this evening for supper and look forward to seeing the rooms in candle light, with real fires burning. What a treat.
I have lived here for all of my life and I can’t tell you how much joy us locals derive from witnessing the rescue of such a beautiful house. Perhaps I will share such comments with the group who have taken it on in the hope that they will continue to ‘grow’ the business with the help and support of the Beverlonians. I see it as a future community hub. Regards Lyn

PatrickNo Gravatar » 12. Jan, 2013

Thank you Lyn. It’s really wonderful to hear that it’s considered a success. Buildings like this play such a part in the community. Full credit must go to a local resident – Professor John Wilton-Ely – – who asked me to lend a hand with the project. He has been concerned with its plight for many years.