Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 04 April 1930
Village Constable Saves it from Destruction
Interesting Old Building.
Houghton Old Hall, a priceless relic of antiquity, and one of the finest and best preserved examples of Tudor architecture to be found in the country was in imminent danger of destruction on Saturday.
The old mansion is used as a public house and shortly after 7 a.m. a maid employed by the landlord (Mr. Albert V. Tabor), discovered a fire in the billiards room. The alarm was quickly given, but the fire had taken a substantial hold, and there is little doubt that but for the pluck and perseverance of a police constable the Hall would have been seriously damaged, if not completely destroyed. When the maid entered the billiards room she was forced back by fumes. When these cleared it was discovered that beams at the back of an old chimney piece, and also floor boards, were smouldering. having apparently been overheated by a fire left in the grate overnight.
The constable, P.c. Wm. Geo. Ames. one of the first on the scene, tackled the fire with great determination, the landlord and the family handing him buckets of water as he made repeated incursions into the smoke-laden room with a wet towel over his face, ignoring warnings by bystanders, the constable continued the work of salvage, and was thus able, with the assistance of others, to keep the tire under control.
The Wombwell Fire Brigade responded within five minutes of receiving the call by ‘phone, and thus a precious relic, the like of which probably cannot be found anywhere in the country was preserved for posterity.
The Tabor family had a lucky escape. Owing to spring cleaning operations, they were sleeping at the rear of the premises. Had they been sleeping over the billiards room, as is their custom, they might have been suffocated, the room being filled with smoke .
The Hall belongs to the Knottingley Brewery Company. Houghton Hall was formerly the residence of the Rodes, a family of considerable distinction in Yorkshire for centuries, and was probably erected early in the reign of James I. It bears the impress of antiquity, and its general architectural outlines are very beautiful. Externally the Hall has degenerated little during its hundred years’ regime as a public house.