IT is one of the most important examples of Huddersfield’s architectural heritage.
The imposing Briarcourt at Occupation Road, Lindley, was created by famed architect Edgar Wood in 1896.
But despite being built for a newlywed couple, only one family can lay claim to growing up there.
Joseph Norman Berry and his wife Elsie lived in the magnificent property with their five children for more than two decades.
Joseph, a well-known local architect himself, had admired the house and bought it in 1922. Shortly after the architect died his widow put the house up for sale, but the family had enjoyed many happy years there.
Joseph’s grandson Norman visited the house as a young boy and remembers the grand impression the property struck as he and his father Gordon pulled up in the driveway.
He says:"I remember after the war driving down the drive and seeing this house with these great big lamps on either side which were shining in the dark.
"I was only a young boy and my father had taken me there to collect my uncle and aunt’s children’s desks, which we took back to our home on Trinity Street.
"It was a very grand house with this magnificent hallway. I remember the door because it had a particular doorbell that used to wind up."
The ornate property was designed by Rochdale-born Wood. He was asked by John Sykes to design Briarcourt as a wedding present for his sister Annie when she married their cousin Herbert Higginson Sykes.
Following his death after a mill accident in 1916, his widow lived briefly at the house with their young children before putting it up for sale in 1921.
It was then purchased by young architect Joseph, whose firm Joseph Berry and Sons designed the house next door to Briarcourt which was often mistaken as a Wood creation.
Norman, from Kirkburton, explains: "Briarcourt was a much admired house in the area and as an architect my grandfather would have seen it as the perfect house for him.
"Edgar’s style was a big influence on other buildings and the clock tower was particularly similar to the family firm’s buildings, which included the council offices in Honley, a few churches and schools.
"He didn’t qualify as an architect until just before World War One and Edgar died a few years later.
"But my great-grandfather, who started his architect practice in 1875 and was mayor of Huddersfield was a very well known figure and could well have known Edgar."
When Joseph Berry bought the property it had been sub-divided and was able to reunite the two parts in 1929.
His children – Gordon, Donald, Hugh, David and Joyce – enjoyed a magical childhood in the sprawling house, from spending hours playing with the huge top floor train set to enjoying grand parties on the massive lawn.
Norman, the managing director of Brockholes-based company Burton Safes, said: "Although the Sykes had lived there before, when the Berry family were there it was the only time the house was really used as a proper family home.
"The family grew up there and many happy years were spent in that house.
"It was I imagine quite an idyllic place for the children. There was a big model railway on the top floor of the house that they would play with.
"My aunt Joyce remembers the ornate desk in the study, which I hear children would queue up at for sweets when it became a children’s home years later.
"Her father would always sit at the desk and would show her his hunter watch.
"She remembers how impressive the entrance was with the rams head in the hall. The position of the staircase has since been changed but my aunt remembers what a kerfuffle there was when they move the billiard table out of the billiard room!"
The huge grounds were a real haven when it came to play time for the youngsters and dozens often gathered there for grand-scale garden parties.
Says Norman: "My aunt said the garage was big enough to take four cars, including the family Rolls-Royce.
"The children loved playing in the garden. They had a lot of parties there and a magician would be hired to perform tricks."
Norman’s grandfather died young in 1940 and finding herself in a big home with most of the children having left, Elsie decided to put it up for sale.
When Gordon – who also became an architect – returned from serving in the war he helped arrange the sale of the house, which was bought by Huddersfield Borough Council in 1946.
Elsie moved back to the house she had first lived in as a young married woman at Talbot Avenue, which had been designed by her late husband.
The house was then used as a residential children’s home, a home for adults and finally a day centre for adults with learning difficulties which it remains today.
Norman recently went back to visit the house with his family.
He said: "It hasn’t changed that much, the rooms have still got all the little details like the lovely painted friezes.
"I think the main change has been to the hallway. The stairs used to take up a lot less room which I think made it appear much grander.
"But it is a very special home to our family and they were proud of the fact that they called it home for so long.
"I would love to think that one day it could become a family home again."