Following an advertisement of the Manor’s imminent demolition, the house was purchased for £78,000 by the eccentric self-made millionaire, entrepreneur and social campaigner, Violet Van der Elst (1882-1966). A committed campaigner against the death penalty, Mrs. Van der Elst had a fascination for the occult, regularly conducting séances in an attempt to contact her dead husband.
Mrs. Van der Elst renamed the Manor, Grantham Castle and spent a fortune renovating, modernizing, and furnishing the Manor. She introduced electricity, and purchased the enormous chandelier in the Great Hall. She adored statuary and added the lions which can be seen in the Front Circle and what is now called the Lion Terrace to the rear.
- British Pathe video clip of Grantham Castle, 1939
- Gypsy Dance composed by Violet Van der Elst performed by David Lovell Brown at Harlaxton Manor on July 7, 2014. This piece comes from Collected Works composed by Violet Van der Elst, published by The Doge Press (her own publishing company), London, December 1937. All for piano, the music includes nocturnes, symphonies, preludes, marches and waltzes. Some have a song lines, with romantic lyrics written by Violet Van der Elst.