Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Bretton Hall Campus, Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The post-war years saw a baby boom in the United Kingdom and with it a need to rapidly expand the number of teachers. Bretton Hall became a Teachers' Training College in 1949. After a merger with Leeds University it was finally closed in 2007. Since then it has gone into steady decline, abandoned, as interesting an exhibit as anything on display at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. We toured the campus.yesterday.

The pool by the gymnasium still has a pump working; moorhens and coots inhabit the environs.

This was the "state of the art" theatre and studio. Never used.

There are lights on in the library on the right, some form of educational library still, I understand, but activity there is desultory at best from what I can make out.   

A further view of the gymnasium. This is an iconic sixties building (ish). Abandoned to its fate. I think it a wonderful building. English Heritage has supported far less worthy structures.

This was, from memory, the students union building, now an excellent café for the Sculpture Park.

Lush grass, all the trappings of a student campus. No students.

One of the residential halls of residence. By the look of the plaque it was known as Grasshoppers I should imagine.

And here is Bretton Hall itself. A grand building. Not in use, though Wakefield Council workmen were repairing the roof when we visited. One of my favourite comedies of all time, "League of Gentlemen", was conceived in this very building. There are long-standing plans to transform the Hall into a hotel though I'll believe it when I've stayed there.

Another view of the theatre that is presenting its own performance of "Waiting For Going".

Leaves, ivy, rust and locked doors.

This was a bright interior section once.

Looking upwards towards the completely neglected halls of residence awaiting the demolition men.

There's the lights on in the library but I could see no-one working there. An odd place to work, 

And a final look through the trees. Sad indeed to think no-one actually lives there.

As we left we could see the men dismantling one of the huge Ursula von Rydingsvard sculptures that have graced the park over the past months. Would that similar expenditure were bestowed on the buildings above. Or below to be geographically accurate.

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And remembering .....

Our Front Garden, 14th August 2005