Abbeydale Grange - The Whole Story
Holt House and Grange House were the two mansions that formed part of the of the all girls high school - Grange Grammar School that lay adjacent to the Boys Grammar School on Abbeydale Road Millhouses, Sheffield. In 1806 Holt House was owned by Joseph Wilson Esq. and in 1834 by a John Rodgers. John was a leading member of the firm of Joseph Rodgers, who was living in Abbeydale House when he died at the age of 80, in 1859.(He is buried in Ecclesall Churchyard). The 1861 Directory states that the occupant was Robert Newbold, merchant and manufacturer . Hunter' Hallamshire states that "In Abbeydale there is a chaste mansion erected by the late John Rodgers for his own habitation. It is now the property of his nephew who occupies it". It appears that John Rodgers erected Abbeydale Grange whilst he was living at Holt House and then moved into it. The 1869 edition of Hunter's Hallamshire then goes on to remark that Holt House was recently rebuilt on the same site by its new owner John Firth merchant and manufacturer who was connected to the famous Sheffield steelmaking company.
In 1918 Holt House was bought from the Firth family by Sheffield Education Committee to house Abbeydale Girls Secondary School later to become Abbeydale Grammar School. The School was housed here until the new school was built in 1939. The Grange then became part of Hurfield Girls Grammar School sharing a building with the Arbourthorne Central Junior School. As its numbers grew it took over the Grange, Holt House and a wooden hall. In 1947 additional prefabricated buildings were added to the Holt House estate and the whole of Hurfield Grammar School was amalgamated on the site. The Gym and the Assembly Hall were added five years later in 1952. In September 1954 the school's name was changed the Grange Grammar School and it remained that way until it joined Abbeydale Boys Grammar School and Abbeydale Girls Grammar School to become Abbeydale Grange.
I have a photograph of Holt House, unfortunately in a derelict state, I've been told that it was vandalised and set on fire some years ago and that not too long ago it was demolished. An estate of new private houses was built on the extensive and once beautiful grounds.
The next photograph is of Grange House that was the main building.
This is one of the occasions that demonstrates why the whole state education sector is in terminal decline. Whilst Grange was a Grammar School these buildings played a part in giving the impression that the school was in fact more of a minor public school that one in the state sector. Once the school became a comprehensive school the buildings suddenly became totally unsuitable and following the obligatory period of tacit neglect, were deemed unfit and a danger to all. Demolition was the only solution for these once fine houses.
But instead of replacing the buildings with a newer school that would meet the needs and aspirations of people in the local area, the land was sold to private developers and executive housing built in the grounds. Of course the weathered stone, the oak paneling and the fixtures of the original buildings will now be adorning some barn conversion in the nearby Peak District (there's another story!!). As far as I can ascertain the only new school buildings on the site since I left are some bespoke portacabins - probably the builders left them once they had finished the job!!
There is also an article that appeared in The Times in September 1999 that gives a rather bleak prognosis of the current state of the School. And if you want to see the current condition of Abbeydale Boys Grammar School follow the link
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This page was last updated on 07/06/10 12:09