Prince of Wales. The prospect of a Royal visit was ever a spur to beautifying houses! The London architect Sir Walter Tapper substantially extended the house’s west front in stone, matching Lindley's work but masking the I750 re-casing of the original house. He also constructed pergolas, greenhouses and conservatories, the latter linked to the house by a stepped glazed corridor acting as a fernery. Tapper ended (in 1903) with a pair of fine lodges and a boxy portico masking the hall's old entrance.
On 11th September 1904, Edward VII and Queen Alexandra duly came over from a stay at Rufford to take tea, one of the house-party being Cornelia, Countess of Craven, who took numerous photographs with her new Brownie, which still survive in the family.
But that was the zenith of the family's fortunes. Alfred Edward died in 1920, leaving his son Godfrey with a hefty death-duties bill which he paid by selling the house and 2,110 acre estate to the Shipley Colliers' Company (of which he was a director). Subsequent disuse of the house (the contents had largely been sold) and mining subsidence led to prospective purchasers or tenants being deterred, and hence the NCB's drastic action in 1948.
Mercifully, most of the estate buildings survive (the water tower artfully converted into a house, the iron gates from the entrance grace Heanor Memorial Park and much of the parkland is open for the public to enjoy. Yet, like Markeaton and Darley Park in Derby, it is a carefully contrived environment bereft of the house that gave it its raison d'etre and focus, which is sad in this era of conservation and re-use.