OLD TOWN WHERE THE PAST IS PRESERVED
THE Old Town was once the heart of Bridlington and was quite separate from the fishing port.
Over the years the two, which are a mile apart, have been linked by newer builds.
A conservation area, it boasts numerous historic buildings, including Bridlington Priory. The Old Town also spawned one of Britain’s most famous 20th century architects, Francis Johnson, who died in 1995.
Influenced by Classical architecture and Georgian style, his legacy is an impressive collection of houses, churches and restorations, including remodelling Garrowby.
He also bought and restored Craven House on the High Street, which is still home to his eponymous practice.
“It was very sad and very frustrating after all the work we had done. It is a large house even for two people and I had to decide whether to go there alone. We had invested so much effort and love in it that I didn’t have to think about it for long,” says Penelope.
Moving to a town where she knew barely anyone was a brave decision but it paid off, helped by her plan to share the house as much as she could.
The Toft has been used as a retreat for clergy and, until recently, it was part of the Quiet Garden Movement, which sees home owners offer their garden as place for people to rest and pray.
It has also hosted meetings of the Old Town Association, of which Penelope was chairperson and, more recently, been a hub for planning the priory’s 900th anniversary.
“We also created our own ‘blue plaque’ to explain the history of the house and if I see people reading it outside I’ll sometimes ask if they want to have a look round,” says Penelope. “When they see the drawing room for the first time they are knocked sideways by it.
There are always lots of “oohs and aahs”. Not only at the features but at the space and the enormous garden.
The house is on three floors and has a drawing room, dining room, sitting room, study, breakfast kitchen, utility, six bedrooms, three bathrooms and a secondfloor apartment.
“My favourite is the drawing room but I also love the bathroom door frame. I have no idea why it is so elaborate and grand. It is bizarre,” says Penelope, who will be greatly missed when she leaves the Old Town to downsize and move closer to her children.
“It’s a wonderful house and I’ve really enjoyed living here. The Old Town is astonishingly beautiful to look at and it has a strong cultural focus with galleries and several good places to eat.
“People talk about Whitby and Scarborough but Bridlington has so much going for it and I didn’t realise that myself until I moved here.”
The Toft, High Street, Bridlington, is for sale with Jackson Stops and Staff for £435,000, tel: 01904 625033 , www.jackson-stops.co.uk. For details of The Priory open day visit www.priory900.org.
The dining room features original 17th century panelling, doorways are elaborate and outside there is a 150-year-old knot garden.