The mystery of Speke Hall

During the summer holidays Granada Reports was invited to film behind-the-scenes at the Tudor mansion Speke Hall, where renovation work was being undertaken.

But whilst filming, a fascinating story that was thrown up, with the discovery of three wooden carved heads. They'd been recovered from the gables at the north range of the building, in desperate need of repair. But experts at the National Trust had no idea whether they were original Tudor artefacts or perhaps as new as 1969.

This is where Gateacre School came in. We knew that back in 1969 the school was approached by Speke Hall to help re-carve one of the original bargeboards on the same front elevation.

The question was - had they carved the wooden heads as well?

Having seen the original story on TV the school and one of the original pupils involved with the project got in touch and we helped to solve the mystery.

More than 50 years on, three of the pupils involved with the project, Owen Evans, Derek Watling and Dave Butler, plus current school staff member Graham Corns (son of the Technology Technician involved in the original project) were invited up the scaffolding at Speke Hall to see their handiwork up close.

The pupils were just 15 and 16-years-old when they carved the new bargeboard so it was incredible to see it in situ and also see that their work had lasted for so long.

But the big question is, could these three former pupils solve the mystery once and for all as to the origin of the three wooden heads? The answer, it wasn’t them!


To watch the original news report click here

To watch the follow-up news report click here

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aug 3rd 1996

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