Citrus Fruits in Haworth
|Longland Hall Rich Carving Citrus Fruits Ground Floor Epilogue Thank You References Read Me|
Edwin Merrall was a local mill owner who had prospered by producing worsted, a cloth used for mens' suits, both civilian and for the army and the navy. His success came from, at the time, the still novel harnessing of steam power to replace the traditional manufacture by hand of the cloth, thereby speeding up production. On the outskirts of Haworth, he built a splendid mansion, which was completed in late 1884. The building was called Longland Hall. As befitted a successful Victorian entrepreneur, the building was filled with the trappings of wealth, with fine carvings and stained glass. It is the distinctive stained glass in the main stair well which gives this page its title and emphasis.
On the first floor we can admire the nicely carved wooden balustrades and columns. We can also get a good view of the whole citrus fruit window with its twelve panes. The window is of course designed to bring natural light to the stairs and the first floor and reminds us of the long windows espoused by the traditional hand weavers in and around Haworth.
Citrus fruits are what Edwin Merrall ordered for both his large stained-glass window on the staircase and for smaller windows for one of the ground floor entrance doors. Here we look more closely at the large stained-glass window in the stairwell. The window consists of 12 panes, which are long and narrow. This was the style adopted locally by the hand-weavers, who needed as much daylight as possible for their work. Victorian weaving mills, with their greater efficiency and output, displaced the local cottage industry of individual domestic hand-weavers. Edwin Merrall was prominent among those who made their fortune from the new Victorian industrial steam-powered weaving processes.
As you see, Edwin Merrall liked citrus fruits, possibly because at the time citrus fruits were still regarded as a luxury. Of course, the citrus fruits and birds must have provided a stark contrast to the environment in the steam powered weaving mills. In this context we might consider the "dark satanic mills" as mentioned in Blake and Parry's "Jerusalem".
The names of the craftsmen who actually carried out the work on this window might never be known. However, their names might still be buried in the records of a local window company!
Let us take a closer look at the original window in the main stair well of Edwin Merrall's Hall, now Haworth YHA. As we see, each of the twelve glass panes or panels depict citrus fruits.
We shall view the window from inside the building - i.e., from the stairwell. We then number the 12 glass panes or panels left to right, row by row, in the order 1 to 12, as shown in the diagram just above.
Considering the lighting constraints, I was probably lucky to get the pictures of the glass panes or panels that I did! However, a complete picture of panes 1, 2 and 9 eluded me. In order to achieve a recreation in View B below, I did the following.
The lower row of panes (9 to 12) have 13 rows of rectangular glass segments. The other two rows of panes (1 to 8) have 11 rows of rectangular glass segments. Perhaps, the craftsmen felt that less rows would speed up the creation of the whole window of twelve glass panes or panels. Edwin Merrall may have been ultra keen to get his "citrus" window finished. Of course, for visual reasons, it was important to keep the five rectangular glass segments per row within all 12 glass panes or panels.
Just below you will see the right hand 0.7 of pane 9 and, for visual effect, its reflection. At the end of my "Thank You" section, in order to end this page on a yet further colourful note, you will see the lower half of pane 2.
In common with many other buildings, the main entrance of Longland Hall is on the ground floor. As the very first picture on this page shows, the extended entrance porch on the ground floor is a prominent feature. The extended porch would prevent the occupants of horse drawn carriages getting wet in inclement weather. Within the house, the main stair well, of course, starts on the ground floor. Of additional note is the ground floor lounge with its fireplace and "citrus fruit" wallpaper.
Edwin and his son died in WWI, after which Longland Hall passed through a number of owners. The historical nature of the building was recognised by the West Yorkshire County Council and the Countryside Commission, whose promises of grants led to the building becoming a YHA, conversion starting in 1975 with the YHA opening on 8th May 1976. The rest is history.
There are at least two acknowledgements I would like to make. One is to the Haworth YHA hostel for hosting our visit and the other to Helen Rundall (Central London Out Group) for organising our visit, to scenic Brontë Country with its literary and erstwhile Victorian industrial connections.
Haworth Accommodation. I would like to thank the Haworth YHA for giving us such a warm welcome and providing such a nice stay with the cultural bonus. I hope, dear visitor to this web page, that you will be encouraged not only to visit Brontë Country around Haworth, but also to stay at this excellent and friendly YHA.
The Merralls had but about 30 years from 1884 until the start of WW1 to enjoy Longland Hall. The YHA has ensured that that the artistic aspects of this building - especially Merrall's Window - can be enjoyed by future generations!
Organisation. I'm sure we would all like to thank Helen Rundall for organising this, possibly the first CLOG (Central London Out Group) Visit to Brontë Country. Many thanks are of course also due to the walk and event leaders including Nigel, John E., Melissa and Helen. We all had a good time, good company, and, as it actually turned out, good walking weather!
I'll end on this colourful note which shows the lower halves of the second and third panes of Merrall's Window. I hope you enjoyed your colourful dip into the past and your colourful browsing experience!
I tried to gather some references together. From these references you will see that Merrall's Window is more than just a window for decorative and protective purposes; it, and Longlands Hall as a whole, provide a window onto the rich local history of Haworth and its surroundings.
"YHA Haworth is a Victorian Gothic Mansion that was built as the family home of a local mill owner. Inside the building the sweeping staircase, ornate painted glass, richly carved oak and plaster friezes hint at the building's opulent past."
This is a transcript of a photo of the YHA summary on display at the YHA house reception on 25th August 2013 at 06:36. The transcript was created because the original YHA text could not be found on the web.
Description of visit uses the YHA reception display.
This gives a listing and short description of all YHAs including Longlands Hall in Haworth.
Here you can read the history which provides the backcloth and context to the description on this page of Longlands Hall.
The header for each section is from Clip Art originally supplied with earlier versions of Microsoft® Office®.
In your browser put: "tinyurl.com/merrallswindow".
(WITHOUT quotes. NO apostrophe. NO spaces.)