Kirkleatham is one of those fascinating North-Eastern juxtapositions. It lies on the edge of Teesside; steel works and blast furnaces surround it but surviving among them is a pretty village and a collection of buildings with genuine historic splendour. The mansion of the Turners who built it all was sadly demolished in 1956 but extraordinary things remain.
The 18th century school is now a fine museum; the church is beautiful and contains wonderful sculptured monuments. Attached to it is a magnificent mausoleum by the architect James Gibb who also designed Kirkleatham’s masterpiece. The Hospital, or almshouses, were built in the 1670s but remodelled by Gibb in 1742. The cottages round the courtyard are small, sweet and homely but the whole composition is among the most splendid in the country, and has, at its heart a wonderfully ornate chapel. Its exterior is impressive, the interior rich and elaborate. It is one of the greatest Baroque designs in England.