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During the time when Sandfield Tower was at the mercy of the passing trade of people, the side wall to the property was missing, as was the entire front window board and this is where most people would climb in to survey – or in most cases – damage the property further. Wanting to survey the interior before the building was demolished, this was the only way to capture the interior brickwork and design on a cold winters morning.   It was achieved with two thoughts in mind. One of utmost safety with suitable protective gear, hard hat, torches, mobile and notice of where you are, but also to only take photographs and leave footprints.

 

The floor was badly rotten in places and the constant rain made things interesting, but this was the only way to discover the inside of Sandfield Tower – perhaps for the last time before the building was to be demolished.

 

But going back in time, the entrance will have taken you off the road in to the sweeping long driveway up to the main door. One would walk up the stone steps and enter main door and find themselves in the porch way.  Here, beautiful plasterwork is present over the inside of the door and on every wall. Above you is a white period ceiling with intricate plasterwork.

Entering the main foyer of the building, at this point, one can turn left in to the left-hand side of the building, or turn right towards the original staircase and rear of the property. Turning left brings one in to a small but spacious room, and a doorway leading to the next room on the right.   A fireplace in the left hand, again to warm the room in the side corner, but the attention turns to the large  window that looks out towards the side of the property.

 

This is a good 8-ft window, four panes of glass and surrounded by original paneling around the entire window. With the sun streaming in and lighting up the whole of the white washed plasterwork on the wall, it is a nice setting as a private room.

One leaves the room through the centre door and finds themselves in the hallway. Here it is possible to go up the stairs on the right hand side, cross the hallway to the rear of the front room, or turn left and head down the hallway towards the right hand side of the house.  Taking a left turn, there are steps that lead down to the basement, another entrance to the front room, plus three more exits.  The left exit leads to a small room at the rear of the house, for the use of the kitchen area. The doorway straight ahead leads to the outbuildings, and the doorway to the right leads to the side exit to the front of the house.

The left hand side door being arched, the centre door being of straight topped, and a beautiful plaster archway leads to the front side exit. Leading towards the front side exit, is another side room, which is used for a side cloakroom.  Returning to the hall, one can enter the front main room through the doorway below the stairs. There are three exits to the room, the doorway just entered, the door in to the hallway and the side door from the porch area. This room takes up the right hand side of the front of the house and is very  bright due to the three large windows at the front of the room.  Here is also a fireplace on the outside wall to keep the large room warm.  The internal decoration is grand with high ceilings and painted plasterwork on the walls. This is an excellent front room and provides good views over the entrance drive and the main road, and is always kept warm by the open fire.

As one can see, the ground floor of the property is in a very poor condition. Little parts of the ceiling of each room remains and rain is getting in from the holes in the roof.  No internal decoration really remains apart from the small alcove, part ceiling and wooden panel surrounds on the rear and side windows.  The ground floor is at the mercy of pigeon droppings, which have rotted the floor in many parts of the building, making it very unsafe with the cellar system directly below.

I was recently contacted by a lady who used to go to Sunday School when the building was used by the Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist in the 1970's and she has kindly given me her words of a guided tour of the building from her memory. This is a fascinating read to hear of someone who has been in the building when it was in full use:As you went in through the front door, straight ahead was the foyer, with two alcoves, one to the left and one to the right.  We never really knew what they were for.  Then to the left was an archway and another hallway with a fireplace in it to the left and straight ahead a large window looking out to the garden.  There was an entrance to the Church auditorium at that  point.  There were two doors one at the back and one at the front.  

 

The were windows down all one side and a platform at the front, with two podiums and an organ in between them. There were seats down either side and an aisle down the middle. If you went out the door at the top on the left side it brought you back into the foyer.  

Opposite was a room which was at the front of the building, which was partly used as a cloakroom, with a partition down the middle.  The other part of the room was a meeting room and had a fireplace in it. If you continued past the staircase on the ground floor was  what led to the back stairs and the living quarters of the Wilson family who used to live there as caretakers.

 

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The staircase had a smooth wooden bannister with a curve at the bottom and at the top was a doorway straight ahead and one to the left. Straight ahead was the Sunday School, it had a foyer area, and then to the right was an archway and there were three rooms off it. A large room on the left acted as the Sunday School, the middle room was a small room for the Soloist before the service to prepare, and to the right a  large room which acted as a room for administration, it contained a large board table and a gestetner machine for copying documents.

 

Once this would have been a highly kept Villa with splendid paneling, high ceilings and roaring fireplaces, now left to the mercy of the weather. It was possible to view both the upper floor and the lower floor while standing on parts of the ground floor.  Where the roof was intact, the floor was well covered and had little wear, but with sections that were exposed to the rain, the floor was very brittle and often missing in parts. The front room would have been an excellent welcoming feature of the house when you came up from the winding driveway.

 

Sandfield Tower is a four story Villa and has a very large basement area, such is the norm for a house of the period. There are 10 doorways in total. Although they have been standing empty for sometime, they are still in good condition, although it is difficult to tell how well they were furnished, if at all.

 

The exterior of the building shows that upstairs appears to be the same dimensions as the ground floor, with the porch area now part of the sandstone tower rising up through the building. From the ground floor hall, the staircase is a single flight up to the second level. It finishes on the right hand side and meets the second floor where it is possible to access all rooms from this location.

From the second floor, we walk down the landing in to the floor of the tower. Here is a well-lit room due to the main window facing from the front of the building.    The room is L shaped and it is possible to walk through from this room to the next room which is in the left hand corner of the building, above the small room which is downstairs to the left of the porch.

There is a side door from the left hand side room which leads in to the main back bedroom. Here is a room of good size which matches the footprint of the room downstairs.  Three large windows let the natural light in to this room, and although not as grand as the windows downstairs, they are of good proportion.  

A fireplace sits on the right hand side of the room which has a door either side to adjacent rooms, perhaps leading to a private bathroom. There is still a high ceiling to the bedroom and it is very spacious in overall dimension. Crossing the landing from the rear rooms to the front room, here again is a very large bedroom with the same size dimension as the front room below.  Although it is not possible to get to the second floor due to the absence of stairs in the property, it is plain to see that most of the rooms are in a very poor state. Missing roof space to the right hand side of the property is damaging all the woodwork for the ceiling, or at least what is left of the ceiling and most of the ceiling on both floors disappeared when the building was fire damaged. It is still possible to get an idea of the upstairs rooms as they appear to mirror the size of the downstairs rooms and are large in proportion. How splendid it would have been to take a view from the finished Master bedroom when first built to see very little built up in the surrounding area.