Thursday, 7 August 2014

The Red Hall, Bourne, Lincolnshire

The Red Hall in Bourne dates from the early years of the 17th century.  Like the Hall at near-by Dowsby the design of the Red Hall has parallels with designs found in the album of John Thorpe (1565-1655?), a surveyor in the Office of Works.  Thorpe's father was a Master mason (he worked at Kirby Hall, Northants); his son has been credited with designing not only the Red Hall and Dowsby Hall, but Carlton House, Condover Hall, Longford Castle, Holland House and (in part) Audley End and Rushton Hall.  The Hall has been erroneously linked with the Gunpowder Plot, and there are stories of tunnels leading from various buildings in the town to the building.  Oddly the hall had another life as the ticket office and Station Master's house of Bourne Station.  It was rescued from demolition in the 1960s after the station was closed in 1959.  (There were lines north to Sleaford, east to King's Lynn and Norwich, south west to Essendine on the main line, and west to Leicester.)  The architects of the restoration were Bond & Read.   It is still possible to detect, after four decades, what they did.  The Hall is administered by Bourne United Charities, and is now used for wedding receptions and exhibitions.  Unfortunately the planned formal garden was not undertaken and now the Hall, which apart from the entrance facade is perhaps a little gaunt, stands a bit forlorn surrounded by a sea of mown grass.

The entrance facade:  the two windows on the ground floor date from the 1960s restoration replacing wooden bay windows.  The builders however inserted the transom in the right window upside down!

 The porch - the best feature of the Hall. A lovely design and a contrast to the brickwork.

The inner door to the porch -a small example of Gothic Survival

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