Welcome to the Sand House

A Victorian Marvel…

Welcome to the official website for the Sand House, a unique and fascinating but little-known part of Britain’s heritage.

Before you go much further, we would really appreciate your feedback about the Sand House, and our plans to promote it as a valuable educational and heritage resource, by filling in our on-line survey. It should take only about 10 minutes of your time and your opinions will really help us. if you’re only just learning about the Sand House, take a good look around this site and then please come back here to take the survey.


The Sand House was a prominent feature in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, from the 1850s until the Second World War.  It was a mansion-sized dwelling carved from solid sandstone by Victorian businessman Henry Senior.  As well as carving the house itself, which stood in a former quarry, Senior excavated into the adjacent ground and created a network of tunnels, decorated with fine and unusual carvings.

The Sand House stood approximately 200 metres north-east of Balby Bridge (which is where the A630 crosses the East Coast Main Line railway). The site is now occupied by a 17-storey tall block of flats named Silverwood House.

The Sand House c.1912
The Sand House c.1912, viewed from Green Dyke Lane


The main aims of this website are to:

Bring the Sand House to as wide an audience as possible
Provide a way of gathering and sharing new information about the Sand House
Promote events and projects relating to the Sand House, such as illustrated talks and exhibitions
In particular, we should like to draw your attention to a new project entitled The Sand House Experience. It follows on from the very successful Sand House – The Elephant in the Room project which took place in Doncaster in Spring 2012. The Sand House Experience will take all the elements of the 2012 project, improve and enhance them, and present them in a permanent venue in Doncaster. Please see the dedicated web page for further details.


The definitive story of the Sand House is told by Richard Bell and Peter Tuffrey in their book ‘The Sand House – A Victorian Marvel Revisited’ (please see our Shop page). Richard Bell, who is a great-great-grandson of Henry Senior, creator of the Sand House, is the owner and custodian of this website.


If you are a teacher and would like to include the Sand House in your lessons, there is an excellent Sand House Education Pack available. Primary school teachers in the Doncaster area can use it as a local history topic under the National Curriculum.


Please visit our Shop page for details of various Sand House mementoes that we have available.

And if you’re a fan of real ale, we’re delighted to tell you that Doncaster Brewery produces a Sand House Blonde ale that you may like to try (although the ale is not available from this Sand House website)! Please see the Doncaster Brewery website for more details.


If you would like to receive occasional emails providing updates about the various Sand House projects that are going on, please complete the sign-up form at this link. (You may unsubscribe at any time).