Many Ryhope old-timers may remember Ryhope Hall. Gutted by fire in the 1950s and demolished in the 1960s, its unusual brick tower was a notable village landmark for many a year.
But it’s an odd-looking piece of architecture. The most popular explanation for the construction of the out-of-place item lies in the story that it was raised after an argument between neighbours. Following a heated exchange between the lady of the Hall and her former friend in the neighbouring Manor House (now Coqueda Hall), the latter was said to have built a high wall between the properties to prevent the Hall’s occupants spying on her. In response, the Hall owner simply went one better, building the tower to overlook the wall!
The then tower-less Hall was originally built around 1675, and enjoyed a varied history as both a posting inn (The Three Boars Head, or something similar – sources vary) and a private residence – with lively links to a highwayman and rogue by the name of Robert Drummond in the early 1700s. In the early nineteenth century, Ryhope was a resort for sea-bathing and the Hall became popular with visiting gentry. After the railway replaced the coaches, the Hall came into the possession of the Streatfield family, owners of Ryhope Colliery.
As its fortunes gradually faded its ownership passed from one hand to another – its grounds even hosting professional boxing contests in the 1950s. Soon afterwards, as it fell into general dilapidation, it was destroyed by fire, and was then demolished completely in the 1960s. The site is now occupied by local authority housing on the southern side of the old village Green.