Wollaton Hall
Wollaton Hall is a country house standing on a small but prominent hill in Wollaton, Nottingham, England. Wollaton Park is the area of parkland that the stately house stands in. The house itself is a natural history museum, with other museums in the out-buildings. The surrounding land is regularly used for large scale outdoor events such as rock concerts and festivals.

Wollaton Hall was built between 1580 and 1588 for Sir Francis Willoughby and is believed to be designed by the Elizabethan architect, Robert Smythson, who was the architect of Hardwick Hall. The building is of Ancaster stone from Lincolnshire, and is said to have been paid for with coal from the Wollaton pits owned by Willoughby. Cassandra Willoughby, Duchess of Chandos recorded in 1702 that the master masons, and some of the statuary, were brought from Italy. The decorative but ludicrous gondola mooring rings carved in stone on the exterior walls offer some evidence of this, as do other architectural features. There are also obvious French and Dutch influences. The building consists of a high central hall, surrounded by four towers. Unfortunately, a fire caused damage to Smythson's interior decoration of some of the ground floor rooms, but little structural damage occurred. Remodelling was carried out by Wyattville in 1801 and continued intermittently until the 1830s. The gallery of the main hall contains Nottinghamshire's oldest pipe organ, thought to date from the end of the seventeenth century, possibly by the builder Gerard Smith. It is still blown by hand. Paintings on the ceilings and one wall are attributed to Verrio or his assistant Laguerre. Directly over the main hall is a 'prospect room', from which there are extensive views of the Park. Beneath the hall are many cellars and passages, and a well and associated reservoir tank, in which some accounts report that an admiral of the Willoughby family took a daily bath. The Willoughbys were noted for the number of explorers they produced, most famously Sir Hugh Willoughby who died in the Arctic in 1554 attempting a North East passage to Cathay. Willoughby's Land is named after him. In 1881, the house was still owned by the head of the Willoughby family, Digby Willoughby, 9th Baron Middleton, but by then it was "too near the smoke and busy activity of a large manufacturing town... now only removed from the borough by a narrow slip of country", so that the previous head of the family, Henry Willoughby, 8th Baron Middleton, had begun to let the house to tenants and in 1881 it was vacant. The hall reopened in April 2007 after being closed for refurbishment. The prospect room at the top of the house, and the kitchens in the basement, were opened up for the public to visit, though this must be done on one of the escorted tours. The latter can be booked on the day, last about an hour, and a small charge is made.

The park

The enclosure of Wollaton Park required the destruction of the village of Sutton Passeys. It was enclosed by Henry Willoughby, 6th Baron Middleton with a 7-mile (11 km) red brick wall, at the start of the nineteenth century. Originally 790 acres (3.2 km 2), land sales have reduced the park to 500 acres (2.0 km 2). In this park, during World War II members of the U.S. 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment were billeted waiting to be parachuted into Europe. A small plaque commemorates this event. Subsequently German prisoners of war were billeted here for employment in the locality between 1945 and 1947. The grounds, Wollaton Park, are the home to the Intercounties Cross Country trials in March of each year, as well as many other events.

Nottingham Natural History Museum
Nottingham Natural History Museum started life as an interest group at the Nottingham Mechanics' Institution. Now owned by the Nottingham City Council, the Hall houses Nottingham City Museum & Galleries Natural History Collections.

Nottingham Industrial Museum
On the last Sunday of every month, visitors can experience 'Sunday Steamings' at the Industrial Museum based in the Courtyard which is open only for these special events. The Courtyard range contains a display of textile, transport and technology from Nottingham's past, including the Basford Beam Engine; a fully operational analogue telephone network; a display of cycles, motor cycles and motor cars linked to the city; and examples of significant lace-making machinery - which put Nottingham on the textile map. The Steaming Days are run by the Nottingham Arkwright Society on the last Sunday of every month. On the exclusive Sunday Steaming events visitors can expect to see: The Museum has a collection of vintage tractors, most of which are operational and used regularly for Steam-Up events:
  • Field Marshall Series II tractor built in the 1940s. Painted green.
  • Standard Fordson tractor. Painted green.
  • 'Little Grey Fergi' tractor MWK 832 TE20D. Painted Ferguson grey.
  • Fordson Major tractor, built in 1950s.
  • Ferguson tractor SAL 67. Undergoing restoration in the workshop.
The museum has a pair of 1929 ploughing engines which were the last two to be built by John Fowler & Co.. Unusually for ploughing engines, they each have a canopy fitted. One (registration no. VO 8987) is operational and is used regularly on steaming days, the other (VO 8988) is not operational and is awaiting a major overhaul, which will include the fitting of a new boiler. The museum has two portable engines on site. One was built in 1886 by Marshall and is in working order, the other was built by Crosskill and is disguised as Trevor the Traction Engine . As well as the tractors and traction engines there is a living van, a saw bench, and a Marshall threshing drum (No. 29505) that operates in the summer months powered either by the Field Marshall tractor, the Standard Fordson tractor or the Fowler ploughing engine. The museum is also home to two balance ploughs ”“ the type used with ploughing engines ”“ and a collection of barn engines which are used during steam-up events.

The park is home to a herd of Red Deer and Fallow Deer. Other wildlife of note at the park include a large corvid roost made up of Rook Jackdaw and Carrion crow. Other notable species present at the site are populations of Jay, Nuthatch and Sparrowhawk. Migrating wildfowl grace the lake in the winter and species of note include Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Wigeon and Tufted duck. There is a good diversity of Fungi present, especially in the winter months, mainly found near the wooded areas and the lake.

Lenton Lodge
Lenton Lodge is one of the Gatehouses built around the boundary of Wollaton Park. It was commissioned by Henry Willoughby, 6th Baron Middleton. It was designed by the architect Jeffry Wyatville and completed in 1825. . It is built in the Elizabethan Revival style. With the sale of part of the park for residential building, Lenton Lodge is now separated from the rest of the park, and stands isolated but prominent on Derby Road in Lenton. In was sold by Nottingham City Council in the early 1980s . A 99 year revolving lease was acquired by Moiz Saigara in 1996. Planning permission to convert Lenton Lodge to a single dwelling was obtained and major restoration work was undertaken by Moiz Saigara, using Julian Owen Associates as the architect. The main part of this work -apart from restoration and installation of services - was filling in the middle archway in such a way as to be able to connect the two wings without detracting from the appearance which identifies the building as a gatehouse. The Lodge was used by Moiz Saigara as his residence from 1996 to 2006, when the lease was sold to Mr Chek Whyte. In 2006-8 Lenton Lodge was restored by Chek Whyte Industries and sold as a 3,324 sq ft (308.8 m 2) office in 2009 . It is now occupied by Global Fire and Security.

Beeston Lodge
It was designed by the architect Jeffry Wyatville around 1832. It is built of coursed Gritstone ashlar in a heavy Gothic style with "martello-type" round outer towers with battlements. The square central gatehouse is connected to the towers at the second floor level. It has an arched carriage entrance with an oriel window above. It was built following the Nottingham Reform riots in October 1831, and is now a Grade II listed building.

Owners of Wollaton Hall
  • 1580 - 1596 Sir Francis Willoughby (1547-1596)
  • 1596 - 1643 Sir Percival Willoughby
  • 1643 - 1672 Francis Willoughby
  • 1672 - 1729 Thomas Willoughby, 1st Baron Middleton
  • 1729 - 1758 Francis Willoughby, 2nd Baron Middleton
  • 1758 - 1774 Francis Willoughby, 3rd Baron Middleton
  • 1774 - 1781 Thomas Willoughby, 4th Baron Middleton
  • 1781 - 1800 Henry Willoughby, 5th Baron Middleton
  • 1800 - 1835 Henry Willoughby, 6th Baron Middleton
  • 1835 - 1856 Digby Willoughby, 7th Baron Middleton
  • 1856 - 1877 Henry Willoughby, 8th Baron Middleton
  • 1877 - 1922 Digby Wentworth Bayard Willoughby, 9th Baron Middleton
  • 1922 - 1924 Godfrey Ernest Percival Willoughby, 10th Baron Middleton
  • 1924 - 1925 Michael Guy Percival Willoughby, 11th Baron Middleton
  • 1925 ”“ Present Nottingham Corporation now Nottingham City Council.

Similar buildings
In 1855 Joseph Paxton designed a near replica of Wollaton Hall in Buckinghamshire, now known as Mentmore Towers.


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