A set of wrought-iron gates which are associated with some of the greatest figures in English history can be found in Sheffield.
The gates are at the main entrance of Concord Park, on Shiregreen Lane, and were gifted to the city in 1932 through the generosity of Charles Boot, of Henry Boot and Sons, building contractors.
The elaborate gates had been at Hayes Park Place, Kent, a former residence of Sir Everard Hambro, the house built by William Pitt, the 1st Earl of Chatham, who was one of the greatest English statesmen and Parliamentary orators.
Henry Boot and Sons had bought the estate to demolish the stately home and build a new housing estate in its place.
Charles Boot confirmed his gift in a letter addressed to the Town Clerk.
“Mr W.G. Davies, City Architect, has inspected the gates, and I understand that he considers them to be quite suitable for the purpose. Will you, therefore, kindly convey my formal offer of this gift to the appropriate Committee, and, if acceptable, I will have them delivered immediately the site is ready for them.
“In pulling down this old place we are compelled to disperse any interesting relics, and I am pleased that Sheffield will have this memento.”
William Pitt was the grandson of Thomas Pitt, the Governor of Madras, known as “Diamond Pitt” due to having sold a diamond of extraordinary size to the Regent Orleans for £135,000. Through this fortunate transaction he raised his family to a position of wealth and political influence.
Many great personages had passed through the gates at Hayes Park Place – Lord Nelson, who planted a tree in the park, the Duke of Cumberland, uncle of George III, who went there in 1765, to persuade Chatham to resume office in Government, as well as numerous politicians.
The 1st Earl Chatham died at Hayes Park Place in May 1778.
William Pitt, his second son, was born here in 1759, going on to be Prime Minister in 1765-1766, leading the country through one of its most eventful periods, and dying shortly after the Battle of Trafalgar.
Forty-eight hours after that glorious victory had been announced, Pitt passed through these gates to deliver a message, which was to be his last:
“Let us hope that England, having saved herself by her energy, may save Europe by example.”