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Lonsdale House

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(click photo to enlarge)

Whilst the appearance ofthis property clearly dates it to the Victorian era, it does not appear on the Ordnance Survey Map of 1853 and was, presumably, constructed some time thereafter. The earliest title document presently seen relates to the mortgaging of the property in1898 by its then owner Susannah Gill when the property was described as a “messuage or dwellinghouse drapers shop garden and cottage situate at Hampsthwaite and facing Town Street formerly in the respective occupation of Adam Harkness and Mistress Reynard but now of the said Susannah Gill”.

The census returns for 1891 shows Susannah as resident at the property with her husband Frederick W. Gill who was described as a Grocer and Painter. It seems that Frederick died young for by the time of the 1901 census the property is said to be occupied by Susannah with her new husband, Herbert Gill, a younger brother of Frederick! Susannah Gill must have died within the next seven years for by 1911 the census shows Herbert as continuing there (as a Grocer and Draper) with his wife of three years, Margaret!

Frederick was the son of John Jeffray Gill, a farmer then living at Swincliffe Top with some of his other children Mary and Clara as well as Herbert.  By 1901, Herbert and Frederick’s father had moved into Hampsthwaite village where he and his remaining family occupied “Ashfield” in Church Lane.  

The Land Valuation survey of 1910 describes the buildings as follows.. “House and shop (The village store)…….Stone blue slated house and shop in fair repair. Small shop windows. Separate entrance to house. Contains ground floor: shop and meat (?) store at rear. 1 sitting 1 living room. Scullery and Pantry. First floor: 4 bedrooms. Interior in fairly good repair. No water laid. Gas fitted. 1 storey stone and ? plaster outshot at rear. Kitchen garden and yard”. Herbert Gill is recorded as both freehold owner and occupier.
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The next transaction occurs in 1922 when Susannah’s executors convey the property to Herbert Gill . Herbert later (1934) sold the property to Dearlove Addyman describing the property as comprising a “dwellinghouse shop garage and other outbuildings and erections thereon…and used for the purpose of a dwellinghouse general store and motor and petrol business”. In 1938 Addyman sold the premises to Marjorie Scatchard the wife of Alva Wilson Scatchard, a grocer. No other transactions were recorded before 1972 (when the West Riding Deeds Register ceased to function).

Does the description of 1934 reveal the existence of Hampsthwaite’s first “petrol station”?  ”Another general store, in the centre of the village, was owned by a Mr Gill, who also had a petrol pump there and a little garage, which had previously been the Band Room with a stage. As kiddies we used to go down there, hoping to hear the big drums, which between practises were suspended from the ceiling with all the other instruments. Whatever happened to all of them I don’t know. The said Mr Gill also had a charabanc, which he drove into Harrogate once a week.” [Bernard Wilson – Book One “Villagers’ Reminiscences”]

The following photograph (dating from Edwardian times?) shows the premises when it was must have been occupied by one of the Gill family. It is clearly operating as a shop – note the shop staff standing outside in their long white aprons and some sort of sign on the wall above the windows.

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After the property ceased to be occupied by the Scatchards it became a Gent’s Outfitters as the following photograph shows . . .
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The picture seems to have been taken in the 1970s and reveals that, in addition to the business of outfitters, part of the property was used as a tea room and coffee shop – all trading under the name of 'Thomas’s'.

Later still the building was occupied as a Restaurant. It is not known when it first became known as 'Lonsdale House' but that was its name until 2011 when (after standing empty for a few years) it re-opened as 'Sophie’s', a bistro-cafe.
Lonsdale House
(click photo to enlarge)
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