New Lord Grantham plaque for museum

Ruth Donnelly, Graham Boyce, Richard Compton, Lucinda Compton, Richard Taylor and David Wimpenny with the new plaque. (1302011AM2)
Ruth Donnelly, Graham Boyce, Richard Compton, Lucinda Compton, Richard Taylor and David Wimpenny with the new plaque. (1302011AM2)

A new plaque to commemorate the connection between Lord Grantham and Ripon has been unveiled in a special ceremony in the city.

The Ripon Civic Society plaque was revealed outside the Prison and Police Museum on Monday, February 11 to remember the link between Lord Grantham – made famous by popular television series Downtown Abbey – and the city.

Chairman of Ripon Museums Trust and coordinator of the civic society’s plaque programme, Richard Taylor, told the Gazette: “When Julian Fellowes set Downton Abbey near Ripon and had it occupied by Lord Grantham he was following in great footsteps.

“The third Lord Grantham, – later Earl de Grey – who designed the Prison and Police Museum building was a great supporter of Ripon and the uncle of the Marquess of Ripon, another great local benefactor.

The third Baron Grantham of Newby Hall near Ripon and Wrest Park in Bedfordshire was an amateur architect and designed the cell block that now houses the museum added to Ripon House of Correction in 1816.

He also designed his own house at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire and was asked to become the first president of the newly-founded Institute of British Architects in 1834, the year after he became the second Earl de Grey,

The new plaque – which notes Lord Grantham’s work and the museum building’s subsequent history as a West Riding Constabulary Police Station from 1887 to 1958 – was unveiled by Richard Compton of Newby Hall – Lord Grantham’s great, great, great, great grandson.

Ripon Museum Trust opened the building as a museum in 1984.

Mr Taylor added: “We are delighted that his descendant Richard Compton was able to unveil the plaque as part of the civic society’s series telling the history of the city.’

Monday’s event was also attended by representatives of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

l One of the most distinctive figures of World War I, Woodbine Willie, will be remembered on a new plaque put up by the civic society at the place where he trained. The plaque will be unveiled tomorrow (Friday) on the corner of North Street and Princess Road, Ripon – near the clocktower – at 10.30am.