The site where Brookfoot House once stood is a lonely, desolate place, seldom visited and often overlooked. This is hardly surprising given how inaccessible the area is. The ruins lie in a tract of dense, overgrown woodland on the steep hillside between Brookfoot Lane running up to Southowram and the industrial estate which clutters the bottom of the Walterclough Valley opposite the Red Rooster. Little remains of the substantial structure today for but the odd tumbledown wall and the course of its foundations, all swathed in nettles and ivy. Nonetheless, the land has not been used for any other purpose in almost a hundred years and you can still sense its absence, a potent testament to the power of entropy and decay.
The industrial estate which stands in the valley bottom is perhaps the only surviving remnant of its Victorian heritage, for there has been activity there since Joseph Richardson founded Brookfoot Dye Works on the site in 1870. It is unclear exactly when Brookfoot House was built. A house stood on the site in the 1830s, occupied by a stone merchant named Samuel Taylor but it was either enlarged or entirely rebuilt by Richardson in 1879, who lived there until his death in 1885. The business passed to Thornton, Hannam & Marshall in 1894 and the house was subsequently occupied by a senior partner of that firm, David Hannam Thornton and his family until the 1920s when it was allowed to fall into dereliction.
Brookfoot House must have been an impressive building in its day, a late Victorian mansion complete with ballroom, billiard room and ornamental gardens. It is scarcely surprising that the ruins of such an imposing edifice in such a solitary place should have left a profound psychic impression and there is a palpable atmosphere in the woods around the site today. It is noticeable that no birds sing in the trees there and the place always feels cold and dank, even in summer. Meanwhile, local children exploring the area have reported seeing a shadowy lone figure in Victorian garb pacing on the terrace where the house once stood and the clatter of hoofs nearby, perhaps from phantom horses on the now overgrown driveway.