For sale – splendour by the seaside

For sale: the seaside flat which could put Buckingham Palace to shame. Features include a water-operated pipe organ, secret passage and 15 stained glass windows depicting the 150th Psalm...

When George Lord Beeforth – “The Grand Old Man of Scarborough” – decided to make his home on the resort’s Esplanade in 1882, no expense was spared.

The retired book dealer had made a fortune on Bond Street, selling the works of Gustave Dore and founding the Dore Gallery – later home to Sotheby’s.

So he could afford to employ 112 craftsmen for three years to install all “mod cons” in his mansion, Belvedere – including electricity – at a time when most local buildings were lit by gas.

Fifteen stained glass windows depicting Psalm 150 were installed on the landing by James Ward Knowles, famous for his work in York Minster.

But Mr Beeforth’s desire to impress visitors did not stop there. In the library he installed a water-powered pipe organ – believed to be only one in the world.The pipes were hidden behind book shelves, and the water-powered mechanism to inflate the bellows was under the floor, to mystify people about how it worked.

The finishing touch was an underground passage, to allow Mr Beeforth, a mayor of Scarborough and chief magistrate, a direct route to a big chunk of the South Cliff which he had bought for a rose garden.

Mr Beeforth lived to 101, despite a German shell crashing through his roof during the First World War bombardment of Scarborough, when he lived elsewhere on the Esplanade. It fell through two floors before ending up on the dining room, narrowly missing the maid.

The Belvedere was also hit, but was lovingly restored by Mr Beeforth.

The house was later occupied by shipping tycoon and Sheriff of Hull Sir Erik Ohlson, before being converted into flats in 1980. But before that 14-year-old Brenda Clarkson, from Doncaster, fell in love with the place while waitressing in a nearby hotel. She eventually married George Hudson, who had been a PC

in Lincolnshire before making a fortune in the US through a travel business and shops.

When the couple (pictured) decided to spend half their life

in England and half in Chicago they bought the main flat in the Belvedere, including the water organ and land at the end of the secret passage.

Now after 20 years of summering in Scarborough and wintering in Chicago, Mr Hudson, 71, and his wife, 70, are selling up to join their family in the US.

Assuming someone can meet the 329,000 price tag, it will be only the fourth time the property has changed hands in more than a century.

Mrs Hudson said: “We will be very sad to leave, but we are getting on and the plane journey gets longer every year.”

mark.branagan@ypn.co.uk