I recieved this from Dad this evening, 2-2-2017. I copied it direct from the email. These are the memories of an 83 year old and as ever he was, as am I, interested in the Blackstone engine. That is a family thing. I hope this helps. Sadly the Google Earth historical view has a large picture joint right through the house, it could not be in a worse place. However it does show the gardens as seen by my Dad and is the aspect depicted in this short missive.
WOODSTOCK: A Georgian red-brick house built by the Tucker-Twopenney (say ‘Tupney’) family during the 1790’s. Their family grave, a large table-tomb is just to the left outside the porch door as you go into Tunstall Church. It is very weathered but you can still read the inscription.
As built Woodstock was a typical square Georgian house with low roofs hidden behind a facade. The windows had louvered shutters flanking them and the front door (up four steps) was flanked by Corinthian columns. The skylight was of the well-known ‘fan’ design later to be used throughout the 19th century on ship’s paddlebox faces.
There was a single storied north wing attached to the main block. This wing contained a vast ballroom together with the library. On the roof, above the ballroom, was a magnificent ventilator.
During the 1840’s the then owners built a matching wing on the south end of the main block. The south wing contained a large billiard room and other, small rooms. The south wing was also single storied and matched the north wing, but had no ventilator. An old woman I knew as a boy had a grandmother who worked at Woodstock and could remember the scaffolding around the new south wing.
In all there were, maybe 45 rooms of various sizes and splendour. The main entrance hall was paved with black and white polished marble squares. The staircase was in the rear hall and rose, around the hall to the full three floors. It was not an especially fine staircase. There were very fine fireplaces in all the main rooms. The door fittings too were quite grand. The dining room, sitting room, ballroom and library floors were light oak parquet.
The kitchen was, with the other utilities, in the basement. There was a dumb waiter lift that carried food up to the dining room.
The park was quite splendid, well landscaped and full of good trees and shrubs. Rides radiated out from the formal, Italian garden at the rear (east) of the house. At the west front there was a big carriage turning circle and then lawns dropped away to a quite large lake. The lake was quite deep and a friend of mine lost a steamboat (powered by a Mamod oscillator) well out from the shore.
One ride ended at a fountain, in my time overgrown with bine and ivy. It was surrounded by statues of nude girls depicting the various virtues. By my time frost, snow, ice and rain had damaged these figures and the result was truly horrible. To come upon them without thinking in the fog, or with sun on the point of setting could be a NASTY experience!
Woodstock never kept owners long. Whether there was anything sinister in this I don’t know. From about 1890 through to the early 1920’s it was owned by the Earl of Westmoreland. He installed a big, twin flywheeled single cylinder Blackstone oil engine to generate electricity. The engine was still in situ in my time and we often turned it over by hand. The flywheels were about 6ft. in diameter.
My father and his sisters, as children, always went to the Christmas party at Woodstock. One year (Dad believed it was 1910) the Christmas tree went up in flames. It was about 12ft. tall. It was incredible that the whole house didn’t burn. Wrecked the party though!
After Westmoreland the estate was owned by Captain Gilliatt R.N. Retd. Gilliatt was the last resident and he moved out in 1937. The army occupied the house and park during the war and left the house in a poor state, after which it just decayed.
You actually saw Woodstock many times as a toddler.
It was demolished in, I believe, 1967