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Olde English Tea House and associated gate piers in Sunnyhurst Wood

A Grade II Listed Building in Darwen, Blackburn with Darwen

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Latitude: 53.7022 / 53°42'7"N

Longitude: -2.4892 / 2°29'20"W

OS Eastings: 367804

OS Northings: 422972

OS Grid: SD678229

Mapcode National: GBR CT1M.XL

Mapcode Global: WH977.Q6WN

Plus Code: 9C5VPG26+V8

Entry Name: Olde English Tea House and associated gate piers in Sunnyhurst Wood

Listing Date: 24 February 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1426159

Location: Darwen, Blackburn with Darwen, BB3

County: Blackburn with Darwen

Civil Parish: Darwen

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire

Church of England Parish: Darwen St Cuthbert with Tockholes

Church of England Diocese: Blackburn

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Tea House, 1911-12, for Darwen Corporation by R W Smith Saville


Tea House, 1911-12, for Darwen Corporation by R W Smith Saville

MATERIALS: coursed sandstone with stone slate roof coverings; extensive mock timbering to the interior.

PLAN: rectangular facing south with a central main entrance and side gable entrances under cover of east and west verandas.

EXTERIOR: the building is set upon a terrace cut into the steeply wooded slope to the rear and overlooks an ornamental lake with cascades and carved stone bridges (Grade II) at either end. Windows are all timber mullions with leaded glass of either square or lozenge form.

The main (south) elevation has five bays and two storeys under a pitched roof of stone slates with carved stone finials to either end and a ridge chimney to the right end. The narrow central bay has a main entrance with a canopied head and a lean-to roof over, supported by rustic angle braces; the entrance is fitted with an original five-panelled door with glazed upper parts. To the first floor there is a three-light timber mullioned window with lozenge-shaped leaded glass. The bays to either side comprise full-height canted bay windows which rise through the eaves to dormer level with pyramidal roofs rising above the ridge of the main roof, each surmounted by carved stone finials. That to the right has two tiers of windows, each of six lights and separated by panels of mock pargetting incorporating a lozenge design. That to the left has three tiers of identical windows; glass to all of the canted bays is leaded and the central pair of lights to the central tier has stained glass. The left end bay has a full-height square-headed cross window with leaded glass and a Grotesque carved stone has been built into the wall to the left. The right end bay has a ground floor timber mullioned window with lozenge-shaped leaded glass. Above, a large commemorative stone is set into the wall.

The right gable has mock half-timbering to its apex with a pair of two-light mullioned windows below, with lozenge-shaped leaded glass. The original veranda below remains, partly infilled towards the rear, with mock timber to its south gable.
The left gable has a dovecot to the apex with stone perching ledges and a three-light timber mullioned window with lozenge-shaped leaded glass; the roof of an original veranda remains although the structure is otherwise infilled. The rear elevation is largely obscured but has at least two full-height timber cross windows with square leaded glass.

INTERIOR: the three-bay full height tea room has dramatic mock-timbered and panelled walls and ceiling; much of the timber used is of rusticated form. The five-sided ceiling is supported on four heavy angled trusses which rest on stone corbels mid way up the walls. Stained glass to the canted bay depicts the Royal Coat of Arms and Motto and the Darwen Coat of Arms and Motto with inscriptions below. At the east end of the room there is what appears to be a centrally placed blocked original entrance to the west veranda. At the east end of the room is the original basked-arched service area with servery and a half-timbered counter and a room to rear fitted as a modern kitchen. An adjacent similar arched opening leads through to a ground floor room lit by the second of the full height canted bays with some mock timber-framing and a door giving access to the east veranda. The upper floor of this area was unaccessible and not inspected.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: to the north and south of the tea house are former entrances; pairs of square-section stone pillars with moulded caps remain with their former gates removed.


Sunnyhurst Wood, a wooded valley with a brook running through it, was purchased by Darwen Corporation in the early C20 for the creation of a public park to commemorate the Coronation of Edward VII in 1902. Funds were raised by public subscription, through the efforts of Alderman John Tomlinson, Mayor of Darwen (1900-1902) amounting to £2600. Work on the park began in 1902 and involved the construction of a number of paths, additional planting and minor works to the stream. The opening ceremony took place on 2 July 1903 performed by Mrs Shorrock, the Mayoress. Within a few months of opening, improvements were being made and benefactors were providing further amenities at their own expense; these included a fishpond, a shallow lake for paddling and toy boat sailing, an aviary and a sundial.

The Kiosk or Tea House was constructed in 1911-12 by public subscription to mark the accession and coronation of King George V. It was designed by the Borough Surveyor R W Smith Saville and opened on 15 May 1912 by the Mayor, Mr John Pickup. Originally it had been intended to use the existing row of four whitewashed cottages which had stood on the site adjacent to Woodman’s Cottage (Grade II) as a tea room but this plan was eventually rejected in favour of the construction of a completely new building in the ‘old mansion’ style. The stream outside the kiosk was widened and deepened at the same time, to make a more ‘ornamental’ waterway, described in the 1920s as a ‘moat’ with a stone bridge at each end (Grade II) and a weir to create a low waterfall.

Reasons for Listing

The tea house, Sunnyhurst Wood, of 1911-12 is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: it is a well-designed structures in a rustic vernacular revival style that utilise good quality materials with a high level of attention to detail;
* Degree of survival: it survives virtually intact with only minor modifications and for this it is considered a relatively rare example of its type;
* Historic interest: in common with the related structures in Sunnyhurst Wood, it attests to the widespread rise of leisure activities in the late-C19 and early-C20 and which, provided via the philanthropy of notable local people, together preserve a set of contemporary public inscriptions;
* Group value: as one of a group of listed Edwardian, municipal park structures, it benefits from a historic, spatial and functional group value, strengthened further by its relationship to the Grade II Registered park itself.

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