After Wennington School closed in 1975 the building became a privately owned and run school for boys - orphans, kids from broken homes etc. - sent by Local Authority Social Services Departments. When this closed (mid '80's) there was talk of the same owners turning it into a centre for sporting excellence but this came to nought on the death of one of the partners.

Since then the estate seems to have changed ownership a couple of times - been used for TV filming by a company called Orion - used by the police for dog training - but has mainly been left to rot. Not sure what the state of play is at the moment. We have heard that building work has recently commenced on (we think) 20/40 new houses and refurbishment and conversion of the main building into flats.

The school building itself has made a number of appearances on television as a location for various Yorkshire Television series including a "A Touch of Frost" with David Jason and "A Pinch of Snuff" with Hale and Pace. The place looks in a very sorry state. It has also appeared in "The Darling Buds of May" - it was the manor house that the cockney character went out to buy.

At one time visitors were not welcome but there hasn't been any contact with the new owners so we don't know what the response would be if people were to go on spec. If development work is in progress we suspect visitors would be a nuisance - but if anyone does happen to stray up there and can find anything out we would like to know what's going on.

Update November 2000

A draft site layout of the redevelopment proposals for Country and Metropolitan Homes (Northern) Ltd. was on display at the AGM in September. This had been obtained from Harrogate Council via Sybil Pentith, Paul Burgess, and safely delivered by Margaret Burgess.

The main building is to be converted into twelve apartments, the courtyard classroom and stable buildings into mews cottages, with a further seven houses being newly built outside the courtyard and behind the pottery area, and a concept house to be built on the swimming pool - 33 units in all. The, more than 60ft, single-storey ballroom (music/dining room) is being converted into one large apartment that will have its own private Italian garden. The ground floor of the music/dining room will be a huge open plan living area with kitchen, and a mezzanine floor will be created to house a study/library area. Other ground floor rooms will be turned into three bedrooms. Offers in excess of £400,000 for this! Work has already started on clearing the site.

The selling agents are DTZ Residential Tel: 01937 583987 and prices range from £130,000 to £495,000.

Are there any ex-Wenningtonians out there with sufficient funds to purchase? ( see Metropolitan Homes (Northern) Ltd website ).

Update August 2001

Irene Hill has recently been to Ingmanthorpe Hall to view the show flat, which has been made out of the library and headmaster's study. The study is now a bedroom with ensuite bathroom, and the library is an open plan living area. The kitchen area is in the corner of the library that had the single sash window. Irene actually thought it wouldn't be a practical living area, but she did like the new wooden floor. The only plaster panelling that remains is on the wall adjacent to the study and there are no remaining cherubs. Irene remembers Brian going into the Library one morning to find a cigarette in the mouth of each cherub.

The courtyard contained huge piles of rubble that had been knocked out of the insides of the courtyard block - only the façade remained. The junior playground has been largely paved over - the theatre having been demolished, but the tree remains.

Irene has a glossy brochure issued by the estate agent, which she will bring to Thorner in September: she thinks anyone wanting to view for themselves will be able to. The show flat is open from Thursday to Sunday.

Update March 2002

One of the residence of the new flats has sent in some photographs taken in what was the matrons flat. There was a mention of the flats in the March issue of a magazine called 'Concept for Living'.

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The above article was compiled by Robin Sinclair based on information supplied by Pat Mitchell and others.


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