History of Hargate Hall


We have a page on our website with information and pictures of  the history of Hargate Hall. On it we say that we would love to here from anyone who has any past connection with Hargate Hall, to find out more about it. Over the weekend we received the following email:


“Dear Mr and Mrs Knox,

My name is Robert Cole and I stumbled across your website and email-address when searching for information on Hargate Hall online.

I read with interest your short history of the Hall and of its owner, Mr Whitehead, and your appeal for more information. I myself was born at the Lodge of Hargate Hall in 1922 and can remember a little bit about the Hall that you might find interesting.

I believe my father started working at Hargate as a deputy head gardener to a man named Mr Evans, the head gardener, shortly before the first World War. The gardeners lived on the grounds of the Hall in what was called a ‘bothy’. My father was rejected from war service because he was 90% blind in one eye, but in 1915 heavy losses occurred in France and so he was drafted in, serving in the Durham Light Infantry. He had met my mother at his previous workplace Brooksby Hall in Leicestershire. During leave in 1916, my parents got married and I believe my mother then came to live at Hargate as well. My older brother was born in 1917. My father was demobbed in 1919 and went back to work at Hargate, again has deputy head gardener to Mr Evans. Mr Evans had two sons, Wilfred and Eric, the younger one, who was the same age as my brother John. Eric and my brother used to play together.

I was born in August 1922. Both my brother and I were born in the Lodge at the entrance to the grounds of Hargate Hall. In the following January we moved to Neville Holt in Leicestershire where my father was head gardener.

The information can be verified by the fact that all personnel who came from the Wormhill District and served in the armed forces had a certificate issued to them relating to their experiences, their regiments and any decorations that they received. There must still be some of those certificates available within the Wormhill District.

All other information I have was passed on to me by my family and is therefore hearsay. I was told that  Mr Whitehead was a most secretive man! Nobody seemed to know exactly what he did in those days, but it was understood that his business headquarters were in Manchester. He had a chauffeur and he used to get picked up from the Hall.

My mother used to walk to Tideswell, about 5 miles away, I believe, to do any shopping that couldn’t be done in Wormhill.

At Christmas in 1962 my brother-in-law and I went to Hargate Hall and standing outside the gates taking in the view, a gentleman came up and enquired as to what we were doing. When I told him that I’d been born in the Lodge in 1922 he was most interested and it convinced him that we were bona fide visitors! The man was the land agent looking after the house. He told me that no one was living at the Hall at that time, and that nobody had lived in the Hall for 9 years, but agency still kept the fires going. I remember from what my parents said that in the winter the ground used to be covered with snow from about November to March. Immediately we set off back from Hargate, it started to snow. Nothing changes!

I do hope that this information will be of interest to you in compiling a more complete history of Hargate Hall. It is nice to see that the Hall is once again lived in now and has been turned into a useful centre for various activities!

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

Robert Cole”
I would like to thank Mr Cole for taking the time to send us this information, which I will now add to the website.

7 thoughts on “History of Hargate Hall

  1. In a follow up email Mr Cole mentioned that a man with the surname Teboon served at the same time. The name Teboon was common in the area in 1922 ;there might still be some of them around today

  2. I can confirm that Robert Evans was Head Gardener at Hargate Hall and that he lived in The Lodge according to the 1911 Census.

    In 1901 he was working as a gardener possibly for Lord Hartington heir to the Duke of Devonshire

    He and his wife Martha [ known as Patty -a sweet woman] were so highly regarded by the owner [ Robert Whitehead?] that he gave them a house on the estate to live in during their retirement. They died in 1941 within 3 days of each other.

    They had two daughters Clara [1890-1975] who was a Nurse in WW1 and decorated for her service. She emigrated to Pennsylvania and Annie Maria Evans. There is no mention of any sons

    Robert Evans was my great uncle.

  3. Following on with the history of Hargate Hall, my grandfather and grandmother, Alfred and Johanna Thompson, both lived and worked at the hall from the early 1940s, My Grandfather as gardener, and my grandmother as chambermaid, they lived in the lodge, along with my mother, Mary Thompson. My Grandparents met and married in Kilkenny Ireland, moving to Sheffield, and then to Wormhill, my grandfather also worked as a gardener at Chatsworth.

    My grandfather was a friend of Tommy Taboon, the used to drink together at the Bagshaw Arms in Wormhill.

    My mother married my father, Joseph Hall, at Wormhill Church, and they were living at the hall with my grandparents in 1946.

    My mothers sister, Ivy thompson, died at the age of 29, and was buried at Wormhill Church, that year.

    I am presently researching my family tree, i would be grateful if anyone has any further information.

  4. I am currently trying to help my Father in law. He believes that he stayed in a convalescent home for children during 1940/1941in Wormhill. He accompanied his sister from their home in Stockport. He remembers there being about 20 children and him walking to a blacksmith. He believes the building was used in the war for RAF pilots who had been badly burnt. My searches have led me to Hargate Hall although nothing specifically about children staying there. We’d appreciate any pointers. Thank you.

    1. Hello. I know that Hargate Hall was used by the red cross during the 2nd word war, and that injured RAF pilots were cared for here. Beyond that, I have not found out much. The Red Cross archives that would have covered Hargate use, were destroyed in fire in the 60’s / 70’s I believe. It is certainly feasible that children were also looked after here, but I have not seen anything to that effect. Also Wormhill did have at least 2 blacksmiths in the 1940’s and there is still one today.
      If I find out any more I will post it here. In the meant time good luck with your searches.

  5. My father, Ray Watson, who’s now 92 was at Hargate Hall for 6 months towards the end of 1943 when he was in the army convalescing from an injury sustained a few weeks after he joined up. He was doing is basic training in Chesterfield and had been assigned fatigues, peeling potatoes, with other men when the knife of the man next to him slipped and badly cut my father’s right hand. After surgery he was sent to Hargate Hall to regain the use of his hand. He says it was Red Cross-run and there was a uniform for injured soldiers of a blue suit with a white shirt and a red tie. He did activities like basket weaving and bowls to get his hand back to use. He doesn’t remember injured RAF man being there but it’s possible. There were a mix of men from different units, some with battlefield injuries. He didn’t stay in the Hall itself but in huts in the grounds. When his hand had recovered he completed his basic training and went on to serve as a Smoke Screen operator and later a Prisoner of War Camp guard.

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