A Victorian Marvel

Author Archive


We would really appreciate your feedback about the Sand House and our plans to promote it, by filling in our on-line survey. It should take only about 10 minutes of your time and you could win a book!



Welcome to the official website for the Sand House, a unique and fascinating but little-known part of Britain’s heritage.

The Sand House was a prominent feature in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, from the 1850s until the Second World War.  It was a mansion-sized dwelling carved from solid sandstone by Victorian businessman Henry Senior.  As well as carving the house itself, which stood in a former quarry, Senior excavated into the adjacent ground and created a network of tunnels, decorated with fine and unusual carvings.


The definitive story of the Sand House is told by Richard Bell and Peter Tuffrey in their book ‘The Sand House – A Victorian Marvel Revisited’, available from Amberley Publishing at this link. It is also available as a Kindle edition at this link. Richard Bell, who is a great-great-grandson of Henry Senior, creator of the Sand House, is the owner and custodian of this website.


The main aims of this website are to:

  • bring the Sand House to as wide an audience as possible;
  • provide a way of gathering and sharing new information about the Sand House;
  • promote events and projects relating to the Sand House, such as illustrated talks and exhibitions.

In particular, we should like to draw your attention to a new project entitled The Sand House Experience. It follows on from the very successful Sand House – The Elephant in the Room project which took place in Doncaster in Spring 2012. The Sand House Experience will take all the elements of the 2012 project, improve and enhance them, and present them in a permanent venue in Doncaster. Please see the dedicated web page for further details.


If you are a teacher and would like to include the Sand House in your lessons, there is an excellent Sand House Education Pack available. Primary school teachers in the Doncaster area can use it as a local history topic under the National Curriculum.


The 2012 Elephant in the Room project was supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and entitled ‘Sand House – The Elephant in the Room.’  It featured an exhibition, the centrepiece of which was a re-creation of the iconic image of the Sand House tunnels, ‘The Elephant and Mahout.’ Please go to ‘The Elephant in the Room’ page for further details.


Postcard image_2012 Elephant & MahoutPostcard image_Elephant & MahoutIn addition to the book (see above) two Sand House postcards are available. One of them features a photograph of the Elephant and Mahout sculpture from c.1912. The other shows the re-creation of the sculpture, by Jamie Wardley, in 2012. The postcards can be purchased at Doncaster Tourist Information Centre or by contacting us.

And if you’re a fan of real ale, we’re delighted to tell you that Doncaster Brewery produces a Sand House Blonde ale that you may like to try! See the Doncaster Brewery website for more details.

We hope that you enjoy finding out more about this Victorian marvel.


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