25 October, 2016
Back to the future
Once it was the luxury home of Indian aristocrats who counted the royal family among their friends.
But today the 40-bedroom mansion of shipping magnate Sir Dhunjibhoy and Lady Bomanji appears to be trapped in a time warp, having been untouched for more than a quarter of a century.
It has been sold in a multi-million deal to a local businessman who wants to restore it to its former glory and make the 12-bathroom property in Harrogate, Yorkshire, a family home again.
Back to the future: Old weights were used by the couple’s cooks in the kitchen including an ancient icing set for cake decoration
Glassware: Sherry and cocktail glasses on a table in a dining room in Pineheath house which were rolled out when the couple entertained
Home entertainment: A playlist of songs to be performed in the ballroom of the house and cake tins for making desserts and sponges found in the kitchen
Couple: Sir Dhunjibhoy and Lady Bomanji were well-known figures in British high society. Here they are pictured at Royal Ascot in 1924
Keys for the house: These included one for the tennis pavilion, another for one of the suitcases. The mansion had 12 bathrooms
Scattered throughout Pineheath house are relics of another age and span many decades going back to the 1920s
There’s old-fashioned internal telephone system for servants, a thermometer in one of the bathrooms, while a picture of the Queen hangs on the wall of the drawing room.
A coffee grinder is on a wall next to a gas water heater in the kitchen, an invitation to a prestigious lunch in 1973 lies on a table alongside yellowed newspaper cuttings.
Sir Dhunjibhoy and Lady Bomanji were well-known figures in British high society at the start of the 20th century, and had three homes.
They spent each autumn at Pineheath after staying at their house in Windsor during the summer and spending the winters in Poona, India.
Fading glory: The mansion’s morning room, where visitors would be taken when arriving at the house before lunch time to see the aristocratic owners
Room with a view: Pineheath house as seen from the servants’ quarters above the garage. After Lady Bomanji died in 1986 the house was left untouched
Sleeping quarters: A bedroom used by one of the servants who were contacted by the owners using an internal telephone system
House lift: The untouched property had an internal lift for the servants and the owners. To the right is a glass case with ornamental plates
Fit for a lady: One of the ladies bedroom in Pineheath house which belonged to wealthy Indian-born aristocrats Sir Dhunjibhoy and Lady Bomanji
Framed: A portrait of the Queen hangs in the mansion’s drawing room while one of multimillionaire Sir Dhunjibhoy Bomanji sits gathering dust on the floor
Antique: An on suite bathroom shower next to one of the bedrooms at Pineheath which was used by Sir Dhunjibhoy and Lady Bomanji during the autumn
Leaving his mark: Wealthy Sir Dhunjibhoy Bomanji’s monogrammed initials are on the front door of Pineheath house
Unique: Hand painted wallpaper dating from the 1920s was used by Sir Dhunjibhoy and Lady Bomanji to decorate the mansion
Lasting legacy: The monogrammed initials of Sir Dhunjibhoy on the interior walls in Pineheath house
But their Harrogate mansion became a relic of the past when Lady Bomanji died in 1986. The couple’s daughter, Mrs Mehroo Jehangir, passed away in 2012 leaving the property untouched for 27 years.
Bomanji was a philanthropist who used his wealth to support Britain’s war effort against the Germans in World war One which led to him being knighted.
He gave generously to charities which supported ex-servicemen and war widows and included Field Marshal Douglas Haig amongst his social circle.
Knighted in 1922, Bomanji gifted a statue of Haig to Edinburgh Corporation in 1923, which is now located in Edinburgh Castle.
Guest toilet: Sir Dhunjibhoy and Lady Bomanji were well-known figures in British high society in the early 20th century
Relics of the past: A tin of fine soap for using in the kitchen and a china trinket box given as a gift from the Indian shipping magnate to his wife
Hot equipment: A bathroom thermometer used to test the bath water in Pineheath house
High-tech in the seventies: A reel to reel tape player found in one of the mansion’s rooms
Bathroom of the past: A stand alone bath with an ornate sink dating back more than three decades
In his later years before his death in 1937, he is said to have ordered a custom built Rolls Royce with a high roof, so he could get in without bending because of back problems.
At a charity event in UK, he became the highest bidder for the donation and planted a kiss on the forehead of Hollywood actress Greta Garbo.
Valuable: A portrait of the Queen is reflected in an antique dresser in one of the rooms. The new owner of Pineheath is to turn the house back into a family home
Fading memories: An old newspaper cutting at the house where the couple had dinner parties. They spent every winter at their home in India
Old-fashioned advert: Hair oil for women is promoted in a newspaper cutting and a box of gold leaf used to decorate the walls and monogram initials in the house
Ornate: A stair light in the opulent house and a heavy safe which was found in one of the dressing rooms