Sitwell Society  Promoting the literary legacy
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The Sitwell family bought the house in 1870. Wood End has a unique and fascinating history; the original site comprises a Grade ll* listed house, built in 1835 for a civil engineer called George Knowles. The house overlooks the English Heritage registered Valley Gardens below, and onwards to the sea, in Scarborough’s beautiful South Bay. Lady Louisa Sitwell added a splendid double-height conservatory and a few years later her son, Sir George Sitwell, added a new wing with a library in the Jacobean style. There is a ‘folly’ tower in the garden which was probably built with the original house, but Lady Louisa had ovens installed so that it could be used as a pottery.

The house was the birthplace of Edith Sitwell in 1887 and played a strong role in the literary lives of Sir George’s children (Osbert, Edith and Sacheverell) until he eventually disposed of it to Scarborough Council in 1934. The Council operated the Wood End Museum of Natural History in the building up until 2006, when it was adopted for the creative workplace development.

Woodend is home to the Sitwell Society


The re-development of Wood End has completely refurbished the listed buildings and incorporated them into a new and distinctive workspace solution of the highest contemporary architectural quality. In the centre of the building for example lies the former Victorian conservatory which has been converted into a unique contemporary Gallery Space. Two new extensions are intended to complement but not copy the historic building and the designs are clearly distinctive and in keeping with the surrounding architecture.

The main three-story extension lies in the footprint of the former walled garden to the rear of Woodend, and is finished in complementary ashlar stone, with zinc bays and brick screen walls. The new workspace includes a roof of flowering sedum which changes colour with the seasons. A further extension of workspaces has been added in the garden between the house and the reconstructed folly, in the manner of a kitchen garden glasshouse, screened from         plantation hill by the original garden wall.