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Doncaster Features: Rossington Hall: A Classic Restoration
The St Leger wasn't the only thing that was grand about September in Doncaster this year as Gary and Michelle Gee opened the doors on the restoration of the magnificent Rossington Hall and gardens.
With a history of over 200 years, the property has been unoccupied in recent years and has fallen into a sad state. However, Gary and Michelle have plans to return it to its former opulent glory and were absolutely overawed that around 1500 came to see what has been achieved so far. The visitors were not disappointed!
Whilst work has only been on-going for only a couple of months, the transformation so far from a school - (its most recent guise) to a splendid Victorian residence is quite astonishing. On the outside, the wonderful (and once hidden) Italian sunken gardens have been uncovered, a beautiful lily pond is being restored, rose gardens being brought back to their former glory, majestic oaks and impressive red-woods revealed and the gatehouse is being restored. Visitors were also able to look around the original Victorian stables, now used by the Northern Racing College.
However, the inside certainly brought the loudest gasps as the glory of the hall was unveiled.
Rooms such as the grand entrance hall, master bedroom, library, dining room and drawing room delighted visitors as they wandered around seeing plans, drawings and mood boards which brought to life Gary and Michelle’s passion and vision for the restoration. But what no one expected was the dining room. Not just a plan – a reality! The Rossington Hall team pulled out all the stops to complete its restoration in time for the open day, treating the visitors to a real feast for the eyes.
Hours and hours of work, including traditional French polishing and other master crafts brought the room back to its splendid Victorian glory. Polished oak panelling, hand made curtains in authentic sumptuous fabric, luxuriant wall paper, an imposing fireplace crafted to its original design, hand built chandelier and original style antique furniture, crockery and silverware all brought this glorious room to life. No wonder its was buzzing throughout the afternoon.
Entertained by Markham Main Colliery Band and refreshments, visitors were tremendously encouraging with their comments. Shared memories from former residents such as the daughter of a previous headmaster for whom a visit to her former bedroom brought tears to her eyes, were a real treasure. Another previous teacher was delighted to find his 1982 signature on the stripped back wall of the library!
As work continues and interest increases, it is clear that the public have a special place in their heart for Rossington Hall. You can follow the restoration on the web site at www.rossingtonhall.co.uk, on Facebook at RossingtonHall or on Twitter @RossingtonHall.
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