Thornseat Lodge: A Victorian Industrialist’s Abandoned Hunting Lodge

thornseat-lodge-abandoned-hunting-lodge-derbyshire (All images by richboxfrenzy)

On Mortimer Road in South Yorkshire, several miles north-east of the Strines Inn, lies an abandoned hunting lodge which was once the retreat of one of Sheffield‘s most prominent Victorian industrialists. Built in 1855 as a shooting lodge for steel maker William Jessop, Thornseat Lodge cuts an eerily impressive form on the hillside. Long derelict, its elegant history seems as distant as the splendour of its cedar-panelled walls. For now mostly gutted, this crumbling sentinel overlooking the Loxley Valley is yet another ghost of Sheffield’s industrial past.


Founded in 1793, William Jessop & Sons developed from a small crucible steelmaker to a leading provider of the metal during the Industrial Revolution. And with markets opening up in the United States, business was booming.

But by the turn of the 20th century, steel tariffs in America and high fuel costs in Britain made it hard for Jessops and other Sheffield firms to compete with their US rivals. As a result Jessops established a US branch of its steel making business though reportedly continued to use the ‘Sheffield’ name on its products.


But by the 1930s, Thornseat Lodge, situated near Bradfield between Midhopestones and the A57 ‘Snake Pass’, no longer belonged to the Jessop family. Converted for use as a childrens’ home, its environs were at once beautiful and bleak. The former shooting residence continued in this role for half a century before finally closing in the 1980s. Various threads on local forums covering Sheffield memories delve into Thornseat Lodge’s history. It’s even covered on TripAdvisor.


One user on the Sheffield Forum, who worked there in the 1970s, wrote: “In those days the place was impressive. The office was called the cedar room because it was just that, floor, walls and ceiling, all cedar and when you entered it you could smell it. There were intricate carvings all round and in each corner was a carving of the head of William Jessop. The lounge had a big open fireplace at one end and that was also hand carved with hunting scenes.”

But he added: “Unfortunately, someone had stripped the varnish from it and the wood had dried out and was starting to crack.” The beginning of the end had come for the abandoned hunting lodge.


Deserted the following decade (and fast forward another 30 years), the decaying shell of Thornseat Lodge cuts a sad shadow of its former grandeur. Its outdoor swimming pool lies empty and moss-covered, while the ceilings have begun to cave in and ornate plaster moulding long since crumbled away.

Like other abandoned Sheffield landmarks including the iconic Hallam Tower Hotel and former Anglican chapel of Sheffield General Cemetery, it’s hard to see what the future holds for Thornseat Lodge.


Keep Reading – 10 Abandoned Manor Houses & Baronial Mansions of Scotland


About the author: Tom





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