Bridge Hill House, Belper

Updated: Wednesday, July 27, 2011   |   Belper Historical & Genealogical Website

Bridge Hill House was erected by George Benson Strutt. It was lived in by succeeding members of the Strutt family, the last being George Herbert Strutt after his second marriage.

It was demolished in the 1930s and is now the site of several private houses. Along with Green Hall, the Mills and many other fine buildings that once graced Belper, it has suffered from the hammer blow of history and modernity.

The house was designed by William Strutt and built between 1793-5 for George Benson Strutt (son of Jedediah.) It was built of stone and stood on a grassy incline overlooking the town and mills of Belper, a fitting mansion for the town's benefactors. George Benson Strutt also had an elevated walkway of stone with iron railings constructed leading from the house to the mills (Green Walk).

Nearby was the Cottage Hospital for the aged and sick of Belper - supported and maintained by the Strutts. The staff was headed by a sister from St. Laurence Convent in Green Lane. The pretty gardens of the Cottage Hospital spent many years hidden and neglected but now have been transformed back to their former glory, giving a tranquil and beautiful refuge for residents of Belper who manage to discover its whereabouts opposite the Talbot Inn at Bridge Foot.

Around the Bridge Hill mansion were gardens and parklands overlooking the river Derwent. There were greenhouses of several different kinds, including an azalia house, a melon house, geranium house, carnation house, a vinery and a fig house, a tomato house and a peach house, so the food and flowers for the house itself were plentiful and fresh.

A large cast-iron-framed Victorian conservatory (not seen in the view below) was added to the front, and this was filled with many tropical plants, palms and flowers, with a large fountain. It must have offered a glorious fragrant and airy space in which to sit and enjoy the sunshine.

In its heyday the house employed a vast number of servants - 17 gardeners, a butler, footman, coachman and groom as well as the usual cook, maids, nursery staff and stable boy. One gardener employed at Bridge Hill was a Hazlewood resident, William Hoskins, who had an expert knowledge of horticulture. Tthe former head gardener's home is still in existence, overlooking Shire Oaks (a small hamlet on high ground above the Dalley.)

Bridge Hill house was the seat of John Strutt, George Henry Strutt and eventually George Herbert Strutt. Three lodges for the house still remain, two in Belper Lane and one on Bridge Hill. For information and pictures of East Lodge see this page.

© Copyright 2011 Tricia Booth BACK HOME CONTACT

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