Sussex Transport artic drivers spend their weeks tramping all around the country from (in our case) South to North and from East to West, they start from their depot on a Monday morning not knowing where the week will take them and although not always exciting locations they do get to see some amazing places and some of Britain’s best countryside.
This week was no exception when Peter one of our artic drivers delivered a modular cube structure in kit form to somewhere just a little bit special…. making him feel a bit like a member of the aristocracy as he drove up to the gates of Delaval Hall in Seaton.
Delaval Hall is a grade 1 listed country house located just north of Newcastle upon Tyne, it was designed by Sir John Vanbrugh in 1718 for Admiral George Delaval and is now owned by the National Trust.
Since completion of the house in 1728 it has had an unfortunate history and neither architect nor patron lived to see its completion, it then passed through a succession of heirs being lived in only intermittently then in 1882 the central block was gutted by fire and has remained an empty shell ever since.
The Delaval family owned the estate since the time of the Norman Conquest, Admiral George Delaval purchased the estate in 1717 and in 1718 George Delaval called on Sir John Vanbrurgh the arcitect to advise him on how to modernise and enhance the existing mansion… upon viewing the site Vanbrugh felt he could do nothing and advised complete demolition of all except the ancient chapel near to the mansion.
His advice was taken and the re-construction work was completed in 1728, two years after the death of the Admiral, the resulting new mansion was the last country house Vanbrugh designed and is regarded as his finest work – on completion the Admiral’s nephew Francis Blake Delaval (the elder) inherited the propety and moved in immediately.
In 1822 devastatingly the central block was gutted by a fire said to have been caused by jackdaws nesting in the chimneys of the section of the south-east wind closest to the main house. This wing was subsequently demolished and various openings can still be seen, now glazed, showing where it joined the central block.
The house was partially restored by the architect John Dobson in 1862-63 when the central block was re-roofed, although it remained a shell internally.
During the second World War the Hall was used to house German prisoners-of-war, who worked as labourers on neighbouring farms.
Further restoration was then completed in 1959 and the early 1960s, including replacement of windows in the central block, restoration of the upstairs gallery in the main hall and paving of the floors on the piano nobile. However the house was to remain unoccupied until the 1980s when, after a period of 160 years, Edward Delaval Henry Astley, 22nd Baron Hastings moved into the west wing. It became his permanent home until his death in 2007.
Subsequently the new 23rd Baron Hastings, Delaval Astley, wishing to preserve the future of the hall and encourage public access, began discussions with the National Trust and on the 1st September 2008 the National Trust launched an appeal for £6.3m to bring the hall, with its gardens and grounds into the Trust’s custody. In December 2009, the Trust announced that its appeal had been successful and the purchase having gone through, The Hall opened to visitors again on 1st May 2010.
On a lighter note the Hall was once the venue for the Delavals family’s lavish costume balls, spectacular theatrical productions and elaborate practical jokes. Drunken Guests would awake to find their rooms had been (literally) turned upside down with furniture fixed to the ceiling, a mechanical bed would give way to drop the unwary occupant into a sobering bath of freezing water and walls were said to disappear just as guests were undressing… Every family has a joker and even back then they clearly had a wicked sense of humour!
After recently being awarded £3.7m from the Heritage Lottery Fund great things are afoot and we are proud to say that we have played a part (albeit a small one) in helping to repair Seaton Delaval Hall and putting the drama back into Northumberlands most flamboyant party house!
So whatever you are transporting for whatever cause we are here for you with a vehicle to suit your every need.
Don’t delay pick up the phone today and call Sussex Transport, we can take the stress out of any situation and arrange everything for you from start to finish.
Call us now on 0800 915 23 23 or fill in one of our contact forms…