Built between 1805 and 1825, Bowcliffe Hall, a Grade II listed building retains the stately atmosphere of a country house, but has the amenities expected of a modern office and meeting venue. Situated just off the A1(M), four miles south of Wetherby and close to both York and Leeds, Bowcliffe Hall is an ideal for base for business, an inspiring venue for meetings, and a beautiful venue for weddings and special events.
Its manicured grounds create a sense of tranquillity, and the recently refurbished hall offers meeting space, working lunches, product launches, team building activities, weddings, and other celebratory events. For business or pleasure, Bowcliffe is one of the most outstanding locations in Yorkshire.
The building is constructed of ashlar limestone, under a shallow pitched slate roof to a rectangular double pile floor plan. It is mainly built in 2 storeys, although the East Wing has been modified to 3 storeys.
Construction of Bowcliffe Hall was begun in 1805 by William Robinson, a cotton spinner from Manchester. After completing only the West Wing, Robinson sold the property for £2,000 to John Smyth, who finished the estate. Smyth died in 1840 and the house was put into trust by his daughters pending sale. The entrusted estate was purchased by George Lane Fox, whose own house, the neighbouring Bramham Park, had been severely fire damaged in 1828.
George Lane Fox, known as 'The Gambler', was the MP for Beverley. He died in 1848 and was succeeded by his only son, also George, known as 'The Squire'. The latter died in 1896 and was succeeded by his second son George (his eldest son having become a clergyman) who was MP for Barkston Ash. He renovated Bramham Park and moved back there in 1907. Bowcliffe was then purchased by Walter Geoffrey Jackson, the Managing Director of mining company Henry Briggs Son and Company.
In 1917, the house was bought by the aviation pioneer Robert Blackburn from Kirkstall, the chairman of Blackburn Aircraft Limited who lived there until 1950. He and his family were the last to use the hall as a residential home. As an aviation pioneer, Blackburn built his first monoplane in 1909, making him the first Yorkshire-man to design and produce a powered flying aircraft. Much of his test flying was carried out over Filey, Roundhay Park and Brough. Blackburn made the world’s first scheduled flight between Leeds and Bradford in 1914, with the Mayor of Leeds among his first passengers. Blackburn’s presence at Bowcliffe Hall and his achievements were the inspiration behind the creation of The Blackburn Wing, a multi-award winning events venue nestled in ancient woodland in the heart of the Bowcliffe estate.
In 1955, Blackburn died, and following his death the house was sold to the Hargreaves fuel company in May 1956 for office use, passing into the ownership of the Bayford Group in 1988.
Over recent years, Bowcliffe Hall has undergone extensive refurbishment of the hall itself and The Blackburn Wing, and now offers beautiful office suites. The final stage of the redevelopment has included creating two new exciting office suites from formerly redundant buildings; Rosemount and the Cricket Pavilion, and the creation of The Blackburn Wing conference and events centre, a stunning aerofoil shaped building that appears to be floating in the trees. Clad in copper with floor to ceiling windows giving out to views through trees to parkland, The Blackburn Wing's extraordinary design pays homage to Robert Blackburn's achievements.
Bowcliffe Hall is now a fully functioning corporate and private events venue. It is also used as Bayford Group's head office, and is the head office of many other businesses whom as tenants enjoy the extensive facilities now offered.
- meeting space
- product launches
- team building activities
- Historic England. "Details from image database (342205)". Images of England. Retrieved 14 September 2009.
- "Unsung hero who reached for the sky gets another chance to fly high again". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
- The Blackburn Wing
- multi-award winning events venue
- Cricket Pavilion
- The Blackburn Wing conference and events centre
- The Blackburn Wing's extraordinary design
- "Proposed Blackburn Wing, Bowcliffe Hall, Bramham, Leeds, LS23 6LP: Design and Access Statement Archived 18 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine." Leeds City Council. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
- "Aviation Pioneer's Home to Be Restored". Calendar. ITV. 14 July 2013. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
- "The History of Bowcliffe Hall" (PDF). Hargreaves Group. Retrieved 30 March 2013.