The Sand House was a bizarre feature of Doncaster life for almost eighty years, but, despite a brief reappearance in the mid-70’s, is now sealed, submerged and largely forgotten, a Victorian tomb of curiosity.
Carved by amateur artist Mr. William Senior from the sandstone walls of a quarry, the sand house served as both the Senior family home and a novelty destination for tourists from all over the world from the 1850’s up until the turn of the century. Although the house itself was remarkable, the main feature of the site was an enormous subterranean tunnel 43 feet underground, open to the public, gas lit, and filled with ornate sandstone carvings and unusual fungi, cultivated and grown in the dry, cool depths of the catacomb like space.
William died in 1859, but his work was taken up by his son, Henry, who further expanded the site. Henry passed away in 1900 and, there, without his vision and drive, the venture floundered, gradually falling into disrepair. In 1935, after being closed to the public for several years, the Council quietly (and without protest) started filling in the quarry, eventually finishing the job three years later. In the 1960’s, flats were built on the site, and remain there to this day.
In 1975, the entrance to the tunnel was excavated in the course of building a subway. In a testament to Victorian ingenuity and durability, it was largely intact, and must have been an amazing, eerie sight for the workmen that opened it, the nearest South Yorkshire has ever had to a pyramid.
Naturally, with public safety so obviously at risk by this fantastic find, the Council concreted the entrance, sealing the tunnel and preserving it for future generations of alien anthropologists and space tourists visiting the shattered remains of our lifeless planet.