What is Dandelion?
Dandelion Stone Troughs and Architectural Antiques was the brainchild of Alan McEwen and, backed by his wife Christine, the company was launched in January 2008. DANDELION specialise in supplying all sizes and shapes of antique English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish Stone Troughs, both water troughs and feed troughs in York Sandstone, Millstone Grit, Limestone, Aberdeen and Cornish Granite and Slate. The firm also supply old grind stones, stone bird baths, staddle stones, sun dials, old gate posts and curiously-carved standing stones and stone monoliths.
Alan and Christine, delight in seeking out these old stone troughs, old millstones, hideously carved stone gargoyles, and a diverse variety of antique York Stone garden curiosities. This spritely couple, both in their sixties, yearly clock up thousands of miles of motoring carried out all over Britain in their quest for interesting old stone troughs and other curiosities which they sell from the DANDELION website: dandelionstonetroughs.co.uk and also from the Court Yard at their beautiful home, World From Rough Stones House.
World From Rough Stones House proudly stands at more than 900 feet above sea level, in the hamlet of Farling Top, Cowling nestled among the encircling Pennines a quarter of a mile from the Pennine Way and only 2 miles from the Lancashire/Yorkshire border.
This unique and beautiful stone house which was personally designed and built by Alan McEwen’s own hands, is the home of Alan and Christine. The construction of the house took Alan six years of part-time work, using re-claimed York stone, Welsh slate, flagstones and timbers sourced from numerous old cotton and woollen mills, breweries, paper mills, churches and sundry demolition sites from all over Northern England. Virtually every piece of stone tells a fascinating story. Alan painstakingly incorporated details into the house to make it feel historic, even purposely building slightly uneven walls covered with uneven plaster! “Visitors ask me if it is a converted old cotton mill engine house, because the house exudes that very character. They cannot believe it when I tell them I built it from scratch!” he says. Alan’s passion and skills in both mechanical and civil engineering is evident, not least in the house’s recurring stone arches over three windows, another forming a huge fireplace containing ‘Owd Woodie’, a 30kw wood burner; and dividing the living room with the dining room/office is a huge stone archway retrieved from Storrs Hall, a former Victorian mental institution near Holmfirth. Alan worked on the construction of the house nights, weekends and even holidays, in Pennine gales, driving snow and dense mountain mists; and it was a labour of love.
World From Rough Stones House is part of the beautiful Pennine landscape, lovingly built from natural reclaimed materials that harmoniously blend in with the character of this part of beautiful Upper Airedale. Upon viewing the house from the surrounding hilltops, it looks like it has been standing there for hundreds of years, and both Alan and Christine are very proud indeed.
Alan is a qualified industrial boiler engineer, the founder and former managing director of specialist, nationally renowned, industrial and heritage boiler engineering company, (H.A. McEwen (Boiler Repairs) Limited), specialists in the repair and rebuilding of industrial boilers and railway locomotive boilers. He retired from the company in October 2007. Alan has been involved for some 50 years in the world of Industrial Heritage, Steam Railways, Steam Boats and for the last 30 years in reclamation and salvage of old building materials and garden antiques.
Alan doesn’t much care for the modern world and due to his profound interest in industrial architecture has, over time, become an acknowledged expert in the design and reuse of old building materials whether they be stone, brick, timber or iron. His particular interest lies in garden and landscaping antiques such as stone troughs, old millstones, unusual stone water features, old stone and metal curiosities, and historic industrial machinery.
So why was DANDELION chosen as the company name and also for the logo? Alan says, “because the Dandelion (Taraxacum) flower is a vibrant, strikingly yellow, native British wild flower – however much maligned – that is beautiful and lights up the countryside, similar to a burst of brilliant sunlight”. The name DANDELION fantastically connects with Mother Nature herself. Alan goes on, “you either love the welcoming yellow Dandelions or detest them, especially when the seeds, the ‘clocks’, fill the air with mini-parachutes that appear to land everywhere. However, this beautiful, British wild flower is indeed, profoundly memorable, so the glove fits!
Alan and Christine are lovers of the great British outdoors and have a deep passion for the natural sandstone and Millstone Grit that form the South Pennines. Indeed, the troughs, millstones and sundry other garden curiosities that DANDELION offers for sale were originally carved from the indigenous Pennine stones, for centuries quarried by hard, Pennine men.
DANDELION can supply for those special garden designs, landscaping, water features and sculptural enigmas, large natural lumps of York Sandstone, Millstone Grit. Also old, weathered reclaimed stone, which has been obtained from legitimate sources.
To enhance and complement gardens, patios, courtyards, pathways and the inside and outside of all manner of buildings ranging from cottages, country houses, character inns and hotels, public buildings and commercial offices, DANDELION can offer a vast range of architectural antiques such as ‘Wrought Iron Curiosities’ created decades ago by country blacksmiths, or beautiful ‘Antique Cast Iron’ products of the Victorian and Edwardian iron founders’ art; all of which, when restored and repainted, make fantastic eye-catching features whether located outdoors or indoors. For example, old iron ploughs, decorative gates and panels, screens, cast iron water pumps, lamp posts, hayracks, iron wheels, rainwater hoppers, old industrial tools, textile machines, breweryana, old engineering equipment and steam engines etc.
DANDELION would like to hear from garden designers, landscape specialists, architects and indeed anyone who are seeking old and wonderful stone troughs and architectural antiques for that GRAND DESIGN.
Alan and Christine welcome old and new customers alike. We are open most days, weekends and Bank Holidays. Please telephone today to make an appointment to visit.
World From Rough Stones House,
North Yorkshire, BD22 0NW.
Tel: 01535 637 153
Mob: 07971 906 105