8th March 2016
The original Gledhow Hall was a 17th century manor house, which over time has been redeveloped into what is now a Grade 2 listed mansion. It was once the home of James Kitson, 1st Baron of Airedale and first Lord Mayor of Leeds. Built on monastic land, in 1601 the estate was purchased from Elizabeth 1 by the Thwaites family. John Thwaites, Alderman of Leeds, died at Gledhow in 1671 aged 85 and it was his son Edward Waddington who built the Gipton Spa bathhouse in its grounds.
The Hall changed hands several times until 1794 when, on the death of William Wilson, the estate was sold to Jeremiah Dixon. During his time at Gledhow Jeremiah made considerable additions to the estate and redesigned the surrounding gardens and woods. Dixon was responsible for the introduction of the Apherhously pine, which became known as the Gledhow Pine. His initials and the date 1768 can still be seen on the bridge across Gledhow Lane.
The Hall is featured in an original water colour by the famous English artist JMW Turner, painted in 1816, which shows the house across the valley.
In the years following Dixon’s death, Gledhow Hall was home to several famous families including the Becketts, the Benyons and the Coopers. Extensive additions were made to the north and west sides of the house and in 1878 the Hall was put up for sale. When James Kitson bought the property he commissioned an impressive hand painted Burmantofts ‘faience’ tile, designed for a visit by the Prince of Wales in 1885.
During the First World War Lord Airedale offer the Hall for use as a military hospital and it was turned into a Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital, staffed by professional nurses and volunteers organised by the British Red Cross.
Gledhow Hall is now private flats, retaining many original period features including a stained glass ceiling in one of the properties, as well as ornamental tiled floors, fireplaces and columns. There are also 4 buildings in the grounds which have also been converted into residential dwellings – Sheriffs Lodge, Kitson Lodge, The Clock House and Constable Cottage. More modern developments close by include low rise purpose built flats and houses. More generally Gledhow, and its neighbour Allerton Park, are areas of late Victorian and Edwardian houses which have survived the years relatively unaltered. There are outstanding large houses in addition to Gledhow Hall, many with strong associations with the important Arts & Crafts architects Bedford and Kitson. The particular relationship to buildings makes Gledhow Valley a very distinctive place to live and a valued part of Leeds’ heritage.