Derby Skyline – Allestree Hall
Allestree Hall is one of Derby’s most magnificent structures, but since it has become unoccupied, the building has been slowly falling into disrepair.
It is thought that the hall was first built back in 1802, although its exact origins are unclear. What is believed to be a foundation stone has been found at the site, which bears the initials JW. There was not any notable architect with these initials around the time the hall would have been constructed, so the details of its beginnings are sketchy.
However, some experts believe that John Johnson of Leicester may have been responsible for designing Allestree Hall. John Girardot was the one who ordered for the structure to be built in the first place, as he is listed as its first owner.
One of the highlights of Allestree Hall is its positioning. It was constructed on the slope of the Derwent Valley, giving an excellent vantage point of the surrounding area. This is testament to the social status of Girardot, and of the importance that the building served back at the start of the 19th century.
Allestree Hall has been granted Grade II* listed status, which shows just how historically important the site is. However, the hall has been unoccupied for several years and is showing signs of wear and tear, which many local people soon hope to see reversed.
There are many features both inside and outside the building that have historical and architectural significance. The ashlar and slate roof is just one of them, with many of the materials used to construct Allestree Hall originally being sourced from the local area.
Another key feature of the hall is the ground floor windows, which are recognised for their character. There is also an Ionic column and entablatures, both of which point to the high standard of architecture that the original owners were hoping to achieve.
Two of the ground floor rooms have Adam style ceilings, which are neoclassical in design and were at the height of fashion in the 18th and 19th centuries. Circular patterns are typical of this style, as it was largely influenced by classic Greek architecture.
The bowed entrance hall is another interesting feature of this hall, as is the stone staircase that provides a real centrepiece. A metal balustrade was installed in more recent years to provide extra support to the structure.
The hall was sold to Commercial Constructions back in 1928, which subdivided the property. It had various uses, including providing the county headquarters for the National Fire Service. It was then purchased by Derby Council, which constructed the golf course that surrounds the hall.
What the future has in store for Allestree Hall is largely unclear. Derby City Council has made various attempts over the years to find a new use for the site, but so far no decision has been made. The Friends of Allestree Park has been set up in a bid to preserve the area and make sure it doesn’t fall into further disrepair.
Even with listed building status, Allestree Hall is in need of a new owner to restore it to its former glory.
Picture credits – http://www.geograph.org.uk