A project to restore the long-neglected Sockburn Hall has received a boost with a grant for £37,000 from English Heritage. This is in addition to the £38,000 it was also awarded last year as part of a long-term project to make the house watertight, eliminate the dry rot and then restore the interiors.
The grade-II* listed Sockburn Hall was originally built in 1834 in a neo-Jacobean style for the Blackett family on the site of a lost Jacobean house built for the Conyers family which had vanished by 1823. The house became notorious in 2000 when the sisters who lived there were prosecuted for keeping animals in squalid conditions in the various rooms of the house. Listed on the English Heritage ‘Buildings at Risk’ Register it had long been a cause for concern as water penetration and vegetation growth threatened the structure of the house.
The family have taken on the house as a restoration project to avoid selling it and risking it being developed and have created a small group of volunteers who are valiantly clearing the grounds and restoring features whilst specialist firms are working on the house. The grant in 2009 enabled emergency repair work to be undertaken on the roofs and guttering to remove the temporary tin sheeting and to ensure good drainage to help stop water ingress into the building. This project will take years but hopefully, one day, the family will be able to move back into this house and make it a home again.