I wrote in this blog last year about my memories of the Purple House in the Newlands Valley, after hearing it had burned down in 2008. I received a message in response to that post from Jane Wright, asking me for other recollections of the time I lived there (1985-1988). I’m ashamed to say that, due to the utterly chaotic state of my life at the time, I did not reply. If you’re reading this, Jane, I apologize.
Recently, there have been quite a few hits on the original post, and a couple of comments. While searching for pictures of Rigg Beck on the internet, I was struck by the fact that only one shows it when the house was occupied. That picture is the one you see, taken by a friend during my first autumn there in 1985. That’s me standing outside, a quarter of a century younger and fitter.
Where are the other pictures, taken when Rigg Beck was full of life? It’s heartbreaking to see only the pictures of dereliction. So many people passed through Rigg Beck during its life as a hotel, family home and later, boarding house.
So I’m asking for pictures and memories to celebrate a unique house in its glory days, as I still remember them. Although we were the last tenants. But it was always haunted by its past – you could see the pristine Newlands Hotel shining through the grime and neglect. Rigg Beck always seemed to me forever young.
I think Varya would approve. If you have pictures or memories, please contact me. Thank you.