Bretton Hall, West Yorkshire

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Bretton Hall is a stately home in West Bretton in the county of West Yorkshire, England, near Wakefield. It housed Bretton Hall College (1949-2001) and was a campus of the University of Leeds (2001-2007). It is a Grade II* listed building.[1]



The present building replaces an earlier hall on the same site, and was designed and built around 1720 by its owner, Sir William Wentworth[2], assisted by James Moyser. In 1792 it passed into the Beaumont family, (latterly Barons and Viscounts Allendale), and the Library and Dining Room were remodelled by John Carr in 1793. A new wing by Sir Jeffry Wyattville was added in 1811-14, and monumental stables designed by George Basevi were built between 1842 and 1852. The hall was sold to the West Riding County Council in 1947. Prior to this sale, the panelling of the "Henry VIII parlour" (preserved from the earlier hall and dating to the 1530s) was given to Leeds City Council and moved to Temple Newsam house.

The Hall is set in 500 acres (2 km²) of lakes and parkland which is also the home of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Bretton Country Park also houses sculptures.

Life as a college

In 1949, the Hall became the site of Bretton Hall College, a teacher training college founded by Alec Clegg specialising in innovative courses in design, music and the visual and performance arts. It later became an affiliated college of the University of Leeds, which validated its degrees. Its graduates include Richard O'Brien, Louisa Leaman, Kay Mellor, Colin Welland, John Godber, Comedian Ray Peacock (Ian Boldsworth), Sir Ken Robinson, David Rappaport, Mark Thomas, Jonathan Kerrigan, Esther Hall, Christopher Barlow, the comedian and actress Emma Fryer, Queer as Folk actress Carla Henry, the pop band The Research, three of the four League of Gentlemen creators/performers, Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, Emmerdale's Emily Kirk actress Kate McGregor, Shelley Conn, This Morning's fashion expert John Scott[disambiguation needed], educationalist Wil Edmunds, the acclaimed [[Chotto Ookii Theatre Company]), Louisa Stanley and most recently, dance pop singer songwriter Little Boots. Most significantly it was from Bretton Hall College that Yorkshire Sculpture Park emerged. Founded by one time Bretton Hall lecturer Peter Murray CBE, YSP has become a leading international art centre renowned for art and performance in the landscape.

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