Sunnyfield House
There is some debate over the spelling.
It used to be with an 'i' in the middle in days gone by
but more recently it changed to having a 'y' in it.
View of Sunnyfield slightly from the left. Sunnyfield House. The road on the
left takes you round the back where
the museum can be found.

This house is the most prominent 18th century house standing in Westgate, with its raised front garden, and Victorian porch replacing the once Georgian porch. The earlier deeds of Sunnifield House property have not survived, but it seems that one John Harrison was the first owner and responsible for its building.

A deed of 1774 states that ‘a messuage and a garth fronting Westgate was sold to John Harrison’, and details of its position coincide with that of Sunnifield House and the land extending from Westgate to the old Back lane (now Bolckow Street). A map dating 1780, shows a large house built here, and another which could be the fore-runner of Westgarth House.

John Harrison died in 1825 and his wife Susanna lived on in Sunnyfield until she died in 1831. The house then came under the control of Elizabeth Wilkinson of Hurworth, the daughter of John Harrison’s brother Richard. And a Mrs Danby was the tenant for a few years.

Elizabeth Wilkinson died in 1835, and Thomas Colling, one of her heirs, became interested in the house and bought it in 1836 or 1837. In 1838 the house was rented by Edward and Ann Pullan, probably friends of Thomas Colling. In 1871 Thomas died and in 1876 the house was sold by his heir ending one hundred years of ownership by connections of the same family.

In 1841 though the occupants were Thomas Stephenson and family, and in 1842 the Reverend

Henry Clarke and his wife replaced them.

After the sale of the house in 1876, to Mr J.G.Reid on behalf of the Saltburn Extension Co., there were plans to open a street into Westgate, and to use some of the land to build smaller houses which were greatly needed in Guisborough. The names on the deed for the sale were H.G.Reid, William Gill, Thomas Gill, and John Hedley. Westgate Road was made between Sunnyfield House and Westgarth and part of Sunnyfield House had to be demolished. The marks of its missing gable end can still be seen.

Arthur Buchanan, a young solicitor in the town bought the house in1873, for the use of his wife’s parents, the Weatherill’s. The 1881 census shows that Mrs Weatherill still lived in Sunnyfield House with her companion Georgina Parrington, after her husband’s death in 1876

The name ‘Sunnifield’ was first used in the notice in the paper of his death.

In the Poor Rate Books of 1881 four houses are given as ‘in Sunnyfield’, apparently meaning the area at the southern end of the later Gill Street.Sunnyfield House was merely No.48 Westgate. In the 1890 Rate Books the house was referred to as ‘Cottage Gardens’, Sunnyfield, owned by Mr William Hedley. At the time of the 1895 O.S. Map, part of Hedley Street and Reid Terrace had been built and named, but much of the land nearer to Bolckow Street was still allotment gardens.

After the death of Margaret Weatherill, the next occupant was Dr Edward Croft, who leased the house from the Weatherill trustees. His young assistant, Dr William Waters Stainthorpe, came to Cleveland and took over from Dr Watts. Dr Stainthorpe and his family began a long residence in Sunnyfield House.

At the end of the First World War, Dr Stainthorpe was ready to expand his activities and having bought the house he extended it to the east. This was to enlarge his own residence and to make part of the house into a private nursing home. The present ’Hall’ was formerly two rooms, i.e. a library and a billiard room, the former having the faithfully copied 18th century style window on the staircase landing. The coach house, seen on the right in old photographs, was demolished at this time of major alterations. The date 1919 was marked on the external stonework at the point where the extension began. The nursing home became very well known and is most remembered as a maternity home.

Dr Stainthorpe died in 1951, and the sale by the Stainthorpe family to Harbro Supplies of Middlesbrough in 1954 marked the end of Sunnifield House as a family home.

Montague Burton Ltd. and the Burton Group were the owners from 1956 until 1972, using the house as a hostel for management trainees for their clothing factory at the west end of town.

For a short period from 1972 to 1974, the house was owned by Guisborough Urban District Council. From 1974 to 1982 it housed the Langbaurgh Council Department of Planning. In 1982 they moved to new offices and the Guisborough Town Council took over as tennants.

Sunnyfield House was finlly acquired by Guisborough Town Council in 1984 for use as a Community Centre.

Westgate looking West

Westgate looking East

View of Westgate looking west. View of westgate looking east.
View looking west towards WestEnd
Westgate looking towards WestEnd


Return to Museum Page