Thursday 18 October 2012

End of one Era at One Myddylton Place

(This is a rework of a posting I made via social media back in 2010)

On Tuesday 5th September 2010 we booked to stay in Saffron Walden Youth Hostel, at One Myddylton Place.
This was to:
1. Have a look inside this wonderful old building.
2. Just to stay there for the fun of it, as we wouldn't have done it otherwise.
3. Because it will soon be closing for good.
4. We just wanted the hostel stamp in our books!

The warden was very friendly and confirmed, with and amazed smile, that we (as Saffron Walden residents) were the guests who had travelled the shortest distance to stay there (probably ever). To his joy, he was pleased to see that we had even brought our slippers

To long established Youth Hostellers, the stamp in the book is an important part of the overnight stay, just as it had been important for our girls to collect the stamps during their many Youth Hostel stays they enjoyed whilst growing up. You don't have this much excitement staying in a Travel Lodge!

The self catering kitchen (aka the members kitchen) with the usual array of equipment and spare food. Remember all those steamy hours of cooking up boil in the bag rice after a long days walking?
Oh to have been able to afford the meals cooked up by the warden.

The cosy dining room in Saffron Walden Youth Hostel, sadly no longer serving up home produced meals. Vital repairs to the main kitchen had not been carried out during the 'winding down' process so it was self catering only.

Where else can you find accommodation in such fantastic architectural surroundings for fourteen quid a night? The YHA are closing these type of hostels due to maintenance costs and because 21st century hostellers don't want this type of unique experience. In are coming the sanitised en suite boxes such as those at Manchester YH.

When we selected hostels to have a family holiday we chose them often because of their character.
Saffron Walden certainly has that. These secret stairs went out of our dorm. 'Elf 'n safety is puttin' pay to all this fun for sure.

The building is crammed full of history. We explored and took a peek in the dorm named Sackhoist.

It is possible to sleep right beneath the remains of the old sack hoist. This reveals the previous heritage of the building, when it was used as one of the many maltings buildings in the town.

The Sackhoist Dormitory.
Dorms are no longer popular with hostellers and as it would be difficult to bring the required sophistication of en suite rooms to the building, it has been decided, amongst other reasons, to sell off the building.

Actually, we were very naughty as the Sackhoist dorm was for men only. Sadly we found not one man in there!

She always chose the top bunk and this night was to be no different.

Happily showing she had wrestled with putting the clean duvet cover on (no more taking your own sheet sleeping bag). Mind you, making your own bed was all part of feeling you got value for money. With the ready-made beds in hostels today you know you have paid for it somewhere.

I know I am past scrambling up into bunks or scraping my back crawling under a bunk, so I chose an ordinary bed from the dozen in the dorm. We had the room all to ourselves.

Or did we? Saffron Walden Youth Hostel is apparently full of ghosts. From dogs, cats and horses in the garden to priests who push visitors over and a grumpy old man who sits in the corner of our dorm.

Thought I'd left the grumpy old man at home?!!

No ghostly horse in the quaint little garden.

Don't expect we will ever see Bridge Street from this perspective again

Wakey, Wakey! Did the grumpy old man keep you awake all night?

Early morning adds sense of place to this medieval building.

The town of Saffron Walden is going to lose a facility that brought visitors from all over the world to this special little corner of Essex. The town has already lost the Bell School which also brought in world visitors.
How much more will we lose?
(September 2010)

Post Script

Now begins a new era at One Myddylton Place

The wonderful work that has been carried out since this piece was written, is a testament to understanding the importance of the heritage of such buildings. With this now being a family home, it is also a facility that is available for selective events.
Saffron Walden has some of the finest timber framed buildings in the area.

(In memory of a good friend of mine, KMN 1963-2011
 An assistant warden at Safffron Walden for


  1. What a wonderful building. I have many memories of youth hostelling both as a teenager and later as an adult with children. Part of the experience was meeting and mixing with new people and I hope that 'modernising' the experience doesn't change this, although I fear it will.
    I hope that the people who now live there love it, I guess they must do, it would be impossible not to really wouldn't it.

  2. Thanks Su. Yes it is a wonderful place.
    Sadly, hostelling has changed during the 30+ years I have been collecting my stamps (even this isn't really done now!) They have to move with the times, and the YHA still provide useful accommodation.
    As for the building, it is lovely to see it has received some worthy attention.

  3. I was part of a paranormal investigative team and we investigated one myddylton place. We got so much Fantastic evidence. We performed a glass divination session (ouija board with the protection of a medium) which enabled us to talk to a small boy.

    The history of the maltings building is full of unsavory events including suicides, murders and such like.

    After we completed our investigation we stayed over night in one of the dorms. Were we saw shadows passing in the hall breaking the light being cast under the door.

    One of my favourite investigations and would love to be invited to investigate here again.

    1. Thank you for finding time to dip into this old post my blog. It was/is certainly a place with many stories, and a good friend of mine, who lived and worked there, recounted many stories and strange goings-on.
      Whether the more recent updates have changed the dynamics - I don't know.


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