Tunstall Court was built for Christopher Furness in 1897. It had a swimming pool,a large ballroom and was originally a very luxurious home, the staircase and windows being decorated with motifs of the various ships built in Hartlepool and trades of the town. It is thought to have been used by the military in World War 1.
In the 1920s, the house was given by Chrisopher's son Marmaduke to Richardson Westgarth for use as a sports' club. Richardson and Westgarth Sports Club used the bowling green, cricket pitch and football pitch facilities. Around 1950, it was aquired by West Hartlepool Council and was renovated for educational use. In 2002, the council granted cheap leases to anyone who wished to care for the property but in 2006, the scheme was abandoned and now sadly the house became a haven for vandals and arsonists and was finally demolished in 2014.
The two lodge houses are still occupied.
Sir Christopher Furness was born at West Hartlepool on April 23rd, 1852. He married Jane Annette Suggitt in 1876 and they had one son, Marmaduke (born in 1883). During his career he became senior partner in the shipbuilding and engineering firm of Furness, Withy and Company, Ltd., and proprietor of the “Furness” line of steamers; founder of the Furness Seamen’s Pension Fund and Deputy Lieutenant for the North Riding of Yorkshire and County of Durham. He also built built the steam yacht “Emerald”, the first turbine vessel to cross the Atlantic. He served as Member of Parliament for the Hartlepools (Liberal) from 1891 to 1895 and again from 1900 to 1910. He was knighted 1895 and in 1910 became Baron Furness of Grantley. His Hartlepool residence was Tunstall Court.
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The photo was taken about the time the nearby St Bega's Glade houses were built. The bowling green in the foreground is completely overgrown and shortly after this the building began to become a target for vandals.
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