Sir William Aykroyd purchased the Grantley Estate in 1925 along with Brimham Estate and the villages of Grantley, Winksley and Sawley, a total of 45 Farms, 6,710 acres in all for the sum of £12,000. He was made High Sherriff of Yorkshire in 1926 and had a fondness for the local community inviting local people to cinema nights in what is now Norton’s Bar and building Grantley Village Hall on 1929.
On September 14th, 1937 Sir William and his wife, Lady Emma Aykroyd, entertained Queen Mary at Grantley Hall in the company of the Princess Royal where they had tea in what is now Norton Bar, admired the paintings and walked the gardens. They would later be revisited by the Princess Royal in 1944.
With the outbreak of World War II, Sir William loaned the Grantley Estate to the war effort and it opened as a convalescent home caring for American, Jamaican and Canadian airmen and soldiers. The Grantley Estate saw a total of 6,571 patients cared for under its roof during World War II, the last patients left on February 16th, 1946.
The Dining room was used for meals and dances, and entertainment was provided regularly by the Entertainment National Service Association including a visit by Dame Vera Lynn who sang to the troops.
Sadly, with the death of Lady Emma in 1946 and Sir William in 1947, the continuous era of private family ownership of Grantley Hall ended. The Grantley Estate was sold and the Estate was transferred to a financial syndicate and broken up, the Hall and its immediate grounds were then sold to West Riding County Council for the sum of £13,500.
Grantley Hall was re-opened in 1949 under the wardship of David Hopkins and was used as an adult education training and residential college for the next 50 years. Many people who trained during this time hold much affection for Grantley Hall.