Country Life Magazine

A reader of the Country Life magazine sent a letter to the editor about a painting they had of Parlington, a water colour, I was later contacted and asked if I could supply a picture for the magazine for their response to the the reader. The picture below is of the item in the September 2nd 2009 edition. The reply was provided by a Mr Scott of Merseyside. I requested that the magazine publish my web site address to accompany the item, this they did as you can see in the image of the magazine page below.

Country Life Magazine, Letter
Link to the Country Life magazine web site: here

Sadly some of the information in the response article is erroneous, firstly the use of the words “given up by the Gascoignes in 1905”, rather suggests they were somehow forced to relinquish it. Whereas the house was left to slowly deteriorate, and used as a source of building materials, by the heir to the estate, following the death of his father at Parlington in 1905. The son, who had been born at Parlington in 1851, had taken residence at Lotherton Hall after he had inheriteded it following his aunt’s death in 1893.

Secondly the reply continues, “used by the army in the Second World War, and demolished, bar the west wing and the Triumphal Arch, in the 1950’s.” This suggests that the hall was intact and used by the army during the war, which was not the case. The parkland was used by the army, see article here on the main site, and the hall, parts demolished since before the First World War, was inhabited, in the west wing, by two households.

The Country Life article continues, “The wing on the right [the Drawing Room], was designed by Carr of York”. I am not aware that this was a design of his. Then, “The main block dates from the seventeenth century onwards.” No, yet another error, it was built in the early eighteenth century, circa 1723 by Sir Edward Gascoigne.

The parts of the hall which remained inhabited, as noted in the earlier paragraph were known as, “The Parlington Hall Cottages”, and the attached extensive range of stables, brewery, loose boxes, etc. all remained intact until the late 1960’s. Thereafter they were sliced off the west end along the wall between a store room, which remained, and the Saddle Room, which was demolished with all the structures to the west. By the 1950’s the Drawing Room on the extreme east was derelict and standing alone, and the central block built in the 1720’s was also derelict and free standing. Both the latterly described elements had stood empty and derelict for years. They were removed and the entire area was levelled, sometime, perhaps a year or so, before the estate sale on 2nd October 1964. Then at the time of the sale the two semi-detatched properties (the West Wing) were offered as lot 1 with some 15.4 acres, described as “IDEAL FOR THE ERECTION OF A HIGH-CLASS RESIDENCE”. The demolition order, being a part of an outline planning approval was never enacted, so the hall was and is technically still in place, but clearly nothing like the edifice that once occupied the spot!

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  1. UPDATE 11th September.

    Dr Adam White the curator at Lotherton was able to obtain a back copy of the Country Life magazine for August the 12th, that carried the original article, which he kindly copied for me. It seems that the painting was found in a skip in Cornwall, by a Ms. Walker; in her words: ‘I recently found this elegant watercolour – in a skip! – and would very much like to identify the house. It is signed and dated by Philip Norman, 1911.’

    How it came to be in a skip is a puzzle, although I have a couple of leads, which I will reveal in a future update, however they turn out!

    The artist is interesting as he was noted for recording the history of buildings, this is a quote from Wikipedia:

    He was trained as a draughtsman and painter in watercolours at the Slade School, often exhibiting at the Royal Academy. A large part of his work consisted of depicting parts of London that he knew, particularly buildings or areas which stood as a survivor of a bygone past or which were about to be demolished. Norman also recorded the history of the buildings which he painted or photographed, and works such as “London Vanished and Vanishing”, written in 1905, provide a fascinating record of bygone London. The historian Hermione Hobhouse has described Norman as one-third of the “triumvirate” of key figures whose works record the topography of London between 1890 and 1950, the others being Walter Hindes Godfrey and Percy Wells Lovell.

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