South and West Yorkshire is brass band country. Every Sunday during the summer, Brodsworth House has a Brass Band Concert on the lawn outside the house. Local bands play a selection of about 20 different tunes over a couple of hours. These can vary depending on the band from military marches, songs from the shows, dance music, popular songs to special arrangements by different members of the band. It is a great afternoon out and quintessentially English.
Brodsworth is a short distance off the M1 from junction 37. The house is a solid white stone Italianate style building, built in the 1860s by the fabulously wealthy Thellusson Family, who made their money in banking. The 'grand rooms' on the ground floor were furnished for display and no expense spared. The dining room and grand reception room are opulent. There is a large billiard room. The stained glass window of the study glows when seen from the hallway.
The last resident, Sylvia Grant-Dalton, fought a losing battle against subsidence, leaking roofs and lack of money for 56 years. She gradually shut up more and more of the house, just living in a few rooms with a cook housekeeper.
English Heritage have kept the house in the state in which they acquired it. It is an excellent example of the decline of a once great house, including a junk room full of clutter collected over the years.
Upstairs only Sylvia Grant-Daltons room was partially modernised with a wash basin. One of the principal guest rooms still has its huge ‘boat bed’ but little else. Other rooms are unfurnished and now house displays.
In the servants quarters, a few rooms still have their basic furnishings. These look spartan to our eyes, but to Victorian girls brought up in overcrowded conditions at home, sharing a room with just one other person must have seemed luxury.
The massive Victorian kitchen still has its range and copper cooking utensils. In the store room there are still jars of preserves on the shelves.
Room stewards are knowledgeable and enthusiastic. This is a fascinating step back into an illustrious past and its sad decline.
There is a cafe serving hot meals, cakes and ice creams. as well as a gift shop.
English Heritage have restored the gardens back to their Victorian splendour. Most of the grounds are grass with mature trees. Along the paths are shrubberies which were designed to show off different colours and shapes of the plants. Anyone who thinks shrubberies are boring should come and look at these for inspiration.
At the back of the house are two croquet lawns and the formal garden with flower beds around a small fountain. Paths drop down to the quarry garden with rock gardens, including a fernery, formal rose garden and archery area. There is a small childrens’ adventure playground in a corner of the garden out of sight of the house.
The kitchen gardens and stables are private.
Brodsworth Church is reached by a gate from the gardens and open some Sundays.
The brass band concerts are held on the lawn behind the house. These are very popular especially with the older generation although there are increasing numbers of families attending. People begin arriving at midday with a picnic to eat on the lawns.
There is a steady stream of people arriving with sun hats and camping chairs taking over the lawns. It is a lovely way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon.