Tonight my father gave a presentation at the Haven Arms in Hedon concerning the ongoing restoration work at Paull Holme Tower, attended by the Hedon Viewfinders photography club and some extended family.
My father acquired the tower in the early 1990s, when it was little more than a pile of old bricks. My childhood was sprinkled with the occasional visit to this mysterious ruin, with its decaying castellations, its perilous stairs and its grass-covered roofline.
In this decade my father stepped up his efforts to effect a restoration, including opening the tower to members of the public. I was roped in to produce visual aids and, on occasion, dig out decades of dung from the ground floor.
In 2015 my father began efforts to produce a documentary series about the restoration, often enlisting me as cameraman. In 2017 we met with Estuary TV and secured a broadcast deal. At tonight’s presentation we were shown extensive clips from upcoming episodes.
The moment of triumph came late in 2016, when Historic England gave us a grant for the restoration work. Even so, the process of rebuilding took a long time to commence, due to seasonal weather difficulties, the need to produce a very specific type of brick, and unpleasantness from neighbours. The most significant changes have occurred since last summer, which annoyingly means that I was not around to see them. The tower now stands noticeably taller than it did for most of my life, for there is at last a roof as well as restored castellations. We also have a new entrance gate and gravel driveway for ease of access.
After the main presentation, attendees showed off their own photographs of the tower, some dating back centuries. There was even a brief discussion about my pet topic of heraldry, as historians tried to date the tower by the display of the Holme-Wastney arms surrounded by Tudor roses.
Though there has been much dithering with authorities, my father still intends to open the tower again once work is complete. No doubt I will be roped in to film that as well.