Thieves steal historic Yeadon Hopeville House sundial

Wharfedale Observer: Two girls next to the sundial at Hopeville House, Yeadon, circa 1900 Two girls next to the sundial at Hopeville House, Yeadon, circa 1900

A valuable historic sundial has been stolen after standing in Yeadon for more than a century.

The artefact has graced the grounds of Hopeville House since before the First World War.

But now thieves have taken the piece of local history which once belonged to renowned Aireborough photographer Ernest Ethelbert Slater.

The pedestal has been left in place and only the valuable sundial, the top part, has been taken. It is believed the piece may have been stolen to order.

Slater, who recently featured in our Across the Years column, was a founder member of the Yeadon Photographic Society, and a manager at Manor Mills. He is seen as a major contributor to the photographic history of the area.

He made his home at Hopeville House, which was built in around 1884. The garden was landscaped with glasshouse, pond and other features including the unique sundial which was produced by a Leeds manufacturer A large part of the garden eventually became part of the Rufford Park estate and the sundial was included in the boundary of a house on Rufford Avenue. But the owner of the house agreed to donate the sundial to be put back to its original location more than 30 years ago, and it has stood there ever since.

A spokesman for Aireborough Historical Society said Hopeville House was one of the few remaining Victorian residences in Yeadon which had escaped demolition or being turned into commercial property.

He added: “It is a sad reflection on our times that while some of us spend hours and hours preserving the history of Yeadon and have a pride in the history of Aireborough, others see our precious heritage as no more than an easy way to make money."

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