Page Turner

Broadcaster and DJ Mark Page invites Tees Life into his grandlooking home in Elton, near Stockton…

WORDS: STUART ARNOLD
PICTURES: MARTIN WALKER

You might imagine that a certain flamboyant singer-songwriter with the surname John might like the sound of Elton Manor as his home.

Instead, this fine mock Tudor property, in the quiet village of Elton, which boasts 18 rooms and seven bedrooms, belongs to another behemoth of the airwaves, Teesside’s very own Mark Page.

While Mark – the Boro’s matchday PA announcer for more than 25 years – doesn’t recall any connection to Sir Elton, he does remember an impromptu visit from a baron, no less. That’s Baron Hague of Richmond, better known as former Conservative leader William Hague.

“He borrowed my studio once,” explains Mark. “I used to do a world-wide show for the armed forces from Catterick and he’d pop in and see me regularly as the local MP.

“I got a call one Sunday morning saying William is on TalkRadio and his ISDN line isn’t working at home, so any chance he can call over?

“Twenty-five minutes later there is a knock on the door and it’s William Hague with his minder.

“They go upstairs and I let TalkRadio dial in while I sit downstairs having a coffee.”

I’m shown around the property – built in 1912 by the Ropner family of local shipbuilding fame – and learn that during the Second World War it was turned into a NAAFI where servicemen flying from nearby Middleton-St-George would socialise.

Mark also tells me how former England cricketer Charlie Townsend moved here in the 1950s.

The dining room is Mark’s favourite, overlooking the extensive back garden with its balustrade terracing. It features a dining table to seat ten that he had made by a joiner in Balk, near Thirsk, and a Welsh dresser which previously belonged to his granddad.

Every room is different, but there is lots of wood everywhere – some oak – on wall panels, on beams on the ceiling, along with original fireplaces.

A games room has a pool table as its centrepiece, while a photograph of former Boro striker Bernie Slaven celebrating his last goal for the club hangs on the wall.

Mark, also a former Radio 1 DJ, still does a lot of pre-recordings from home, but his studio has gone. Also flown the nest are his two, now grown-up boys, although his daughter still lives with him.

“The kids have grown up here, there have been some good parties along with radio shows and music sessions with live musicians,” he says.

“We have certainly made the most of it over the years.”

Upstairs, the master bedroom has a pleasant view of the surrounding woods at the back, while one of the three bathrooms boasts a freestanding tub of the type you typically see in boutique hotels.

“When we moved in. it was almost a swinging ‘60s type place, full of quirky colours,” says Mark, who recently hosted Teesside Philanthropic Foundation’s Annual Charity Ball.

“I turned it back into something more traditional, in keeping with the age of the house.”

Despite the hard work Mark has put into the place over the years, he isn’t, however, intent on hanging onto it in the long term.

“Maybe it’s time someone else came in to see how they would do it,” he muses. “It needs a fresh pair of eyes to do something different and new, but that’s up to whoever has the house next.”

Elton Manor is available for sale through EazyMove on 01642 495200 or for rent through My Property Box on 0333 358 3676.