ELHAS Meeting Report - June 2010

The final meeting of the summer programme was not marred by the fact that, due to illness, there had to be a substitute speaker. In spite of being surprised at the change of speaker, the forty strong audience were delighted to hear a presentation by Brian Hull of Parlington Hall who bravely stepped in at the last minute. Brian, who has lived in the building now described as Parlington Hall for eight years, has spent the last seven researching the history of Parlington and the Gasgoigne family. The result of this research is a fascinating website www.parlington.co.uk and a series of talks, one of which we heard last night. As well as being called upon to speak at short notice, Brian also found himself being the 'guinea pig' for the society's recently purchased P.A. equipment. He rose to both challenges like the true professional that he is.

He began his presentation by explaining that the building he lives in was originally cottages on the huge Parlington estate, but since the original hall's demise it now rejoices in the name Parlington Hall. He explained that the now sleepy village of Aberford was a busy coaching village in the 17th and 18th centuries, but the heyday of the Hall was during the 1880's.

The Hall was the home of the Gasgoigne family for many generations and over the years was added to and refurbished as were many large country houses. It was built of stone, quarried locally at Huddleston Quarry. Incidentally stone from this quarry was used to rebuild the Palace of Westminster after the fire of 1840, and also supplied the paving for York Minster. Brian's presentation was particularly interesting because he showed many really early photographs of the Hall, some dating from the 1840's. It was sad however to trace, through the photos, the dereliction of the Hall until its final demise in the 1960's.

Over the years the Hall saw many changes and was variously used as a stud, a VAD hospital in WW1 and the site of local military tattoos, complete with family owned cannon. During the 20th century it became a favourite camping spot for scout and guide troupes.

We were most impressed and entertained with the technical wizardry Brian displayed in his presentation. No doubt this ability is a reflection of his day job as a software developer. The audience were hugely entertained with the story about the Triumphal Arch built by the family to celebrate the victory of the Americans in the War of Independence. When the Prince Regent, who had been invited to visit Parlington, saw the arch he was highly affronted and immediately turned his party round and headed for Hazlewood Castle instead. Brian ended his presentation by inviting the audience to visit the Parlington Hall display currently on show in the Heritage Centre in Cross Gates Library. This display, kindly loaned by Brian, was until recently on show at Lotherton hall so we are very fortunate to have it. It will be in the heritage centre until the end of August.

The next meeting will be a film show 'All Our Yesterdays' by the Yorkshire Film Archive on Monday 27th September.