From 1900 until 1934, Doncaster Corporation owned the Sand House. They used it as a home and a depot for the foreman of the Sanitary & Cleansing Department. From 1917 until 1932, the foreman was a man named Thomas Hague, who lived there with his wife, two sons and two daughters. The youngest son was also called Thomas Hague.
Richard Bell, who has spent many years researching the Sand House, met with Thomas Hague (the younger) several times during the 1980s and 1990s. In 1983, he recorded a two hour interview with Thomas Hague. During the interview, Mr Hague recalled how soldiers guarded the ammunition stored in the Sand House’s tunnels during his early days of living there.
Words of Thomas Hague, Sand House resident 1917-1932
‘When we went in 1917 the Army was guarding it.
In the underground passage was ammunition. Boxes of Mills bombs and the long ones with the old rope handle at the end. And we had a guard day and night. They used to guard it back and front and they were at the entrance. And when we used to come in at night we were challenged in the dark, “Halt, who goes there? Friend or foe?” [We’d answer] “Friend”, then [the guard would say] “Advance, friend, and be recognised.”
The Army were using it right through to the Armistice, 1918.’