Discover the fascinating history of a lost Victorian marvel here in Doncaster

There will be guided walks of a Doncaster history icon this Autumn where the intriguing past of the site will be retold.

By Laura Andrew
Friday, 20th August 2021, 10:40 am

The Sand House was a prominent feature in Doncaster from the mid 1850’s until the Second World War.

The walls of the mansion sized dwelling were carved from solid sandstone by Victorian businessman Henry Senior.

As well as carving the house itself, Senior excavated into the adjacent ground and created a network of tunnels, decorated with fine and unusual carvings.

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The tunnels were full of carvings and sculptures such as this one.

Richard Bell, chair of trustees of The Sand House Charity and a direct descendant of the man who created the Sand House, will be leading history walks on the site.

On Sunday, September 12 he will host two walks one at 11am and one at 2pm.

Richard said: “The Sand House and its tunnels may have disappeared, but the clues to their former existence are still very much there.

“With the help of historic photos and maps, visitors will learn how the Sand House developed and where it stood.

There will be tours on the historic Sand House.

“They will stand directly above where the iconic Elephant and Mahout sculpture lies buried deep underground.”

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The house was carved from solid rock in the 1850’s, in a small quarry just south of Doncaster town centre.

Although the house was destroyed in 1938 the tunnels survived until the 1980’s.

The tunnels were decorated with wonderful carvings, including one of a full size elephant.

The Sand House stood less than 200 metres north-east of Balby Bridge (which is where the A630 crosses the East Coast Main Line railway).

The site is now occupied by a 17 storey tall block of flats named Silverwood House.

Places on the guided walks must be pre-booked, as attendance is limited for safety reasons.

Please call Richard Bell on 07777688438 to book a place.

The 90 minute walks, which take place as part of Heritage Open Days 2021, are free of charge.

But donations to support the work of The Sand House Charity are greatly appreciated.

The Sand House Charity began in 2017 with the aim to advance education in history, art, sculpture and other related subjects that link to the former Victorian Sand House.

Find out more here.

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