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Matlock: Willersley Castle Contents Sale, 1927 - Drawing Room
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Arkwright family pedigree

Arkwright & His Cotton Mill

Cromford Hall (Willersley Castle), before 1791

Although a number of good quality fireplaces like the one shown here were advertised in the catalogue when Arkwright's castle was on the market, it is unclear if any of them were actually sold. This one, with a beautiful mirror above the mantelpiece, was in the drawing room and remained in the house. The fender, though, seems to have gone under the hammer and was sold.

Adam Marble and Carved Mantelpieces.

Lot 163.
AN ADAM WHITE MARBLE MANTLEPIECE, With ORMOLU FESTOONS OF OAK FOLIAGE MOULDING, BEADING AND ROSETTES, 4ft. high, 7ft. 2 wide, opening 3 ft. 10in, set with a steel and ormolu grate, engraved and ornamented with chased bosses.

Lot 164.
[only partly shown in the catalogue photograph]
The mantel mirror, painted and gilt, with inner border of carved continuous oak foliage, and beading, and frame of carton pierre, designed in entwined foliated scrolls, 9 ft. by 6ft. 6

Lot 58

An Adam pierced steel serpentine fender, with pen scroll and boss ornament, 5 ft. wide, a set of engraved steel implements, an extra poker, and a pair of tongs[1].


Enlargement, showing pipe work that went up into the flue of the
chimney, taking either heat or hot water to other rooms.
Sale notices stated that Willersley had central heating[2].
Information on how the piping worked would be very welcome.
Lots shown in the top photograph that were printed in the Sale Catalogue.

The image of the drawing room or lounge, below, shows it in the early years of the Wesley Guild's ownership of Willersley. The room looks up-to-date and light, with a modern painted or embroidered fire-screen covering the fireplace. As for the central heating, the Arkwright heating system seems to have been removed as the Guild's advertisement claimed they had new central heating installed when they opened for business.

It is interesting to see how all the chairs are pushed as close to the fireplace as possible for the photo.
In reality, such an arrangement would not have been particularly conducive to conversation!

1.From the 1927 sale catalogue[1] in the collection of and © Ann Andrews.
This image is included here because of the interest of a lady called Kate who lives on Vancouver Island. She spotted the catalogue in a local shop and most generously sent it to sent me - which is how the image comes to be on this site.
2. "Willersley Castle, The Lounge". Photochrom Co. Ltd., Graphic Studios, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, No.79291, Publishers to the World. Undated.
Postcard in the collection, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links are to transcripts or more information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] From "A Catalogue of the Contents of the Mansion Willersley Castle, Matlock Bath", Knight Frank & Rutley (1927)

[2] "The Times", Thursday, Mar 31, 1927. An advertisement for the sale of the property stated that central heating was installed.