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