Timeless Elegance With A Woman’s Touch

Tees Life looks inside and outside one of Middlesbrough’s finest homes, where Edwardian elegance meets authentic English architectural genius…

You can tell that a woman was involved when Ormesby Manor House and Cottage was designed back in 1904, according to current owner Brenda McGlynn.

That’s because every room original occupier Elizabeth Brown would have used regularly faces the landscaped front garden of the impressive family home on Church Lane in the conservation area of Ormesby, Middlesbrough.

An astute businesswoman, Miss Brown was also an animal lover and one of Britain’s first breeders of Japanese Chin dogs. Although born in Edinburgh she became very fond of Ormesby, paying for the steeple and east window of the nearby parish church as memorials to her parents.

Sadly, she died in the winter following the home’s completion and she now rests in the church’s principal burial plot.

Brenda and husband Tony have lived here since 1985, but the time has now come to downsize, as they are rattling round a property with up to seven bedrooms, as well as a further three in the attached cottage that comes with it.

The couple insulated half of Teesside as well as bringing the first microwaves to the area with their hugely successful business Maxi-Heat, which employed 60 men at its peak, and they put their expertise to good use as soon as they moved in.

“We realised the worst thing would be the heating costs, so we drilled and insulated the walls from the outside and then from the inside as well, which is very unusual,” says Brenda, who initially needed to be convinced by Tony that the house was for them. “It was in very poor condition and had been badly modernised,” she explained.

Lying at the end of a sweeping, gated driveway, the exterior of Ormesby Manor House is the epitome of tasteful Edwardian elegance, although its style is “Jacobethan”, a term coined by the poet John Betjeman.

Architectural and landscape historian Timothy Mowl describes Jacobethan as representing “the last outpouring of an authentically native genius that was stifled by slavish adherence to European baroque taste”. So now you know!

The house is set in just under half an acre of land that includes a summerhouse, well-kept lawns and seating and patio areas, as well as beds and borders containing an abundance of trees, plants shrubs and bushes.

The original oak entrance door is surrounded by a stone archway leading to an inner hall that features an ornate stained glass leaded window.

Although the McGlynns don’t drink these days, they still love to entertain on occasions, as evidenced by the impressively stocked bar at the side of the hall. When they threw parties the hall rug was peeled back to reveal a beautiful timber floor that was just made for dancing on.

One of the four reception rooms is warmed by an enormous log burner throwing off enough heat to take the chill off the master bedroom above.

A stunning oak staircase leads to a gallery landing giving access to that and the other three first floor bedrooms, which all offered Miss Brown’s guests views of the gardens.

There are three more bedrooms in the large loft area. Current uses for this space include Brenda’s sewing room and storage for some of the costumes worn by children at the popular dance school formerly run by the couple’s daughter, Amanda.

The adjoining cottage once belonged to Miss Brown’s housekeeper, who was among the major beneficiaries of her will. The McGlynns have until recently rented it out.

The family have loved their home for more than thirty years but are now ready to let it go. This is a house that cries out for family living – and the family lucky enough to be its next custodians will truly inhabit one of Middlesbrough’s most remarkable and distinctive buildings.

The property is being marketed by Hunters Teesside at £825,000. Call 01642 224366 to arrange a viewing.