The idea for this exhibition

The idea for this project came about 5 years ago when i had a meeting with a customer about commissioning a painting. “I would like Castle Carr in it” she said. I’d never heard of Castle Carr. For anyone else who’s never heard of it, it was a vast and austere castle which now lies in ruins above Luddenden Dean, though it’s grand water gardens, including a 150 foot high fountain, still remain.

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Access to the grounds is forbidden, except for once a year when people are invited to witness, and get drenched by, the spectacular water jet when it is let off.

Castle Carr water gardens

Soon Afterwards another customer mentioned another lost house: New Cragg Hall in Cragg Vale. “Nothing left to see” she said, though it had been beautiful; something between an Arts and Crafts mansion and a Chateaux that stood for less than 20 years before it burnt down.

Cragg Hall

My bit of Yorkshire, what is sometimes referred to as ‘Cinderella Yorkshire’, falls between the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales and bares the scars of it’s industrial past. The home of the textile industry because of it’s steep valleys and fast rivers, the area boomed in the early 19th Century and fortunes were made and lost in a very short space of time. Grand houses were built and simply disappeared, sometimes within a generation.

I’m not local; I grew up in Suffolk. I’m an ‘offcumden’ but i love this valley and this project has become a treasure hunt. I’ve been speaking to local historians and searching library and museum archives. I should like to research and paint 10 or 12 Lost Houses that fall within the South Pennines. I am going to recreate them in all their grand and colourful glory.

I’m not an historian and I may make mistakes. If i get something wrong, please tell me. And if anyone has any images or information to share then please Contact me. I haven’t chosen all of the houses yet so I would appreciate any suggestions.

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