Seaton Delaval

BY CHARLES EVANS

Seaton Delaval Hall is a Grade I listed country house in Northumberland. It is near the coast just north of Newcastle upon Tyne. Located between Seaton Sluice and Seaton Delaval, it was designed by Sir John Vanbrugh in 1718 for Admiral George Delaval and is now owned by the National Trust.

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Since completion of the house in 1728, it has had an unfortunate history. Neither architect nor patron lived to see its completion; it then passed through a succession of heirs, being lived in only intermittently. Most damagingly of all, in 1822 the central block was gutted by fire, and has remained an empty shell ever since.

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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. The effects of the fire remain clearly visible in the great hall, originally 30 feet (9.1 m) high but now open to the roof, with blackened walls and muse statues.

During the Second World War the Hall was used to house German prisoners-of-war, who worked as labourers on neighbouring farms.

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