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Showing posts from February, 2015

The strange tale of a haunted staircase

Built in 1745, Blake Hall was one of the most breathtaking homes in the West Yorkshire town of Mirfield until it was torn down in 1954. From old photos, one can easily imagine garden parties and games of croquet taking place on the expansive lawns. In the spring of 1839 the Ingham family, who lived at Blake Hall at the time, hired a 19-year-old governess to raise the Ingham children. That governess, Anne Brontë, fictionalized her experience at Blake Hall in her novel, Agnes Grey.

The most impressive feature of the mansion was the Queen Anne staircase, hand-carved from rare burled yew. After being salvaged prior to the demolition of Blake Hall in 1954, the staircase was purchased by an antique dealer. A few years later, Gladys Topping and her husband Allen were in London, browsing the Kensington Antique Fair to find furnishings for their Beach Lane home in Quogue, Long Island when they met the dealer who possessed the exquisite staircase. The Toppings dove 50 miles to the dealer's w…