Sunday, 13 July 2014

Before Uncle Monty: A Glimpse At The History of Sleddale Hall

Seeing as last week's blog about the Picnic Cinema screening of Withnail & I at Uncle Monty's cottage proved rather popular, here are a few more photos which might be of interest.

Back in 2009, when the "horrible little shack" went under the hammer, the Telegraph talked to a former resident, and ran a few of her snaps of Sleddale Hall, aka Crow Crag, back in the 1950s...


Sitting on the step of the door used in the film. Ferrets almost certainly in that shed at the back.



Yes, he is the farmer.



Sleddale Hall, taken from the rear.



The article in the Telegraph ran as follows:

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More than two decades before it featured in the film Withnail & I, Sleddale Hall was home to the Harrison family. "My father farmed the valley but when the damn was built to make the reservoir we moved away," says Margaret Kuchczynski (Harrison). That was in 1965 - no one has lived there since.

Sleddale Hall was Margaret's parents first home. There was no electricity, and they got about by horse and cart. "We had two horses, both called Piggy," says Margaret. Groceries were delivered as far as Thorney Bank (Margaret's aunt and uncle's farm), over a mile away. "We collected them by pony and cart or Uncle Henry brought them up by tractor and trailer," says Margaret.

Their mother cooked on a big range, but also used a calor gas cooker and did the washing in a Calor gas fired tub with mechanised paddles to wash the clothes. "I can remember being taken to bed by oil lamp and my parents using candles too," says Margaret.

Over the past few years Margaret and her sister Heather have taken their own children back to Sleddale Hall, to see where their mothers were born. "It should be a family home again," says Margaret. "It would be such a shame if it was turned into a museum, after all it was a farm from 1722 until 1965 (over 240 years), and a film set for only one summer in the 1980s. We wish we could afford to buy it."

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The Harrison family, I'm guessing, were the ones who used to keep ferrets in the barn (see last week's blog). No doubt Margaret is happy to know that it is a home once again, albeit one that has several hundred rather drunk guests hanging around outside in the yard for one weekend a year...

For more information on the history of the house, plus lots of photos of the interior (taken back when it was in its semi-derelict state) this site is well worth a visit.

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