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JayneCasey70
Member
Posts: 1

Hello

Im looking for information about houses called Cawney Bank House and Springfield House around Cawney Hill / Kates Hill area. I have old maps and can see their location on there but would love photographs of them and would like to know when they were demolished. My partners family lived in them in the 1800's and I'm finding out about the properties in which they lived. They also lived in Portway Hall in Rowley and I have managed to find some great photographs of that on the net.



Any information would be great, thanks.

 

Jayne Casey

December 12, 2011 at 6:04 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Hasbury Nailers Cottage.


Hasbury's Oldest House.


Now known as number 260, Hagley Road, Halesowen, this sandstone built  Nailer's Cottage, is believed to be the last one in the area. A site member, " Historian " , ( aka, Lee Hutchings ) is asking for photographs or family memories of the house, with a view towards preservation and listed building status. It's not known for certain, just when the cottage was built, but it's likely to be getting on for over 200 years old. Can you help. If you have a connection with any of the names listed below, please let us know.


The Cottage was probably built between 1780, and 1790, to house a labourer and his family, who worked at the nearby Farm. As with most buildings of this type, and following a basic design that hadn't changed since the time of the Saxons, it comprised one large room on the ground floor, and two rooms above. ( Similar in layout to a Saxon Hall. ) It's not certain at what date the nailshop was added, but the trade increased, due to unemployment, after the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815. Sometime before 1840, the cottage was occupied by George Willetts, who was born in Lutley, about 1813. He was still there in 1841, and possibly up to 1855, when the next year, James Rose, ( a nailer ) born in Halesowen in 1829, moved in with his new wife, Elizabeth ( nee Taylor )  It must then, by implication, already have had  the nailshop added. This couple produced 9 children, at least 2 of whom died. Mary Jane, 1858, James,1859, George, 1862, Harriet Ann, 1864,  Elizabeth,1866, Margaret, 1870, John, 1871, Thomas, 1872, and Stephen, 1874. The father of this brood died in 1881, but his widow Elizabeth continued to live there until her death in 1904. The 3 youngest children remained in the property until 1907, when Stephen Rose married Martha Willetts, and took over the house. He was the only one in the family who wasn't a Nailer, his chosen work was as a Collier and Iron worker. Martha was a spike forger, and worked in the small nailshop, attached to the cottage. She was assisted by an older relative of her husband, William Rose. The couple, in 1911, had one child Mary Elizabeth Rose,1909, one other having died. The hand made nail trade died off after the Great War, when it was believed the equipment for making nails, the heath and tools, were removed.Stephen Rose died in 1953, and his wife Martha, in 1957, but her death was recorded in Kingswinford. It's not always easy tracing a line through the female offspring, but this time I will. Mary Elizabeth Rose, married Horace Broome, in Halesowen, in 1933. as far as I can tell, they only had one child, Rita M Broome, 1934, who, in 1958, married Ronald Copson, again in Halesowen. They in turn also had a daughter, Sharon Copson, who in 1986, married Steven J Cato, at Hawne Methodist Chapel.  If you are related to any of the names, or of  the families mentioned, please go to our Contact Us page. l have posted a Map in the Gallery for reference.


In addition, has anyone got information on either Edward Withers, and possibly his brother, Charles Withers. They both lived on Hagley Road, Hasbury, ( then called Springhill ) one, Edward, towards the " Hare and Hounds ", and ran a Beer House called  " The White Lion ", which was quite close to the Nailers Cottage. Charles lived the other side of the cottage, towards Halesowen and ran another Beer House called " The Bee Hive ". This was still in operation in the 1920s, run by one Alice Withers. The Withers family also owned a farm, which was reached up a small trackway, which can still be seen at the side of another old cottage, on Hagley Road. Previously a Fish and Chip shop, now a Car Spares business. On the other side of this track, are three properties, all of which used to be shops. The one in the middle, ( now a wine shop I think ) is the oldest of the three, being higher built than the other two, and may be nearly as old as the Nailers Cottage. In 1924, they were respectively, a shop, owned by John F Parsons, a Boot and Shoe repairers, owned by Charles Jones, and a Drapers, owned by Samuel Hancox. Any photo's of these would be appreciated, as they will likely also show the Nailers Cottage as well.



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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

June 23, 2012 at 3:02 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Halesowen, The Leasowes.


The Leasowes, Halesowen.



Most folk from the area, know who built and landscaped the Estate about a mile from Halesowen town centre, William Shenstone. A few will know, that the Golf Club has been in residence since 1905. But prior to that, the house was put to a use that would be entirely understandable today, it was turned into a Physical Training School. And a very up-market training establishment at that. Rhoda Anstey, born in 1865, came from Tiverton, Devon, her father, John, being a very successful Dairy Farmer. After her parents died, the unmarried young woman, together with her two siblings, carried on with the farm, Rhoda being listed as the Dairy Manager. Sometime after 1891, she seems to have branched out somewhat, and was drawn, to the rage of the age, Physical fitness. It was believed, that a fit body was a clean body, and that vigorous excercise kept away many of the old Victorian vices. Rhoda by the way, never married, so at least part of the regime worked. She must have had a few bob, or a few wealthy friends, for in 1897, she signed a lease on the now empty Leasowes House. She employed four assistants, two of whom taught the very trendy " Swedish Gymnastics ", and one who taught " Cookery ". There were several servants, including one local girl, Ethel Ferraby, who was the under-housemaid. All very grand you might think, and so it was, for all her students came from wealthy families, one even came from Finland. They were all boarded in the house, 15 young girls in 1901, aged from 17 to 28, non of the locals of course, most of whom wouldn't have an ounce of fat on them anyway. Either business was very good in 1904, or it was struggling, for in a photograph taken that year, there are a number of Men.( picture 1 )

And 14 in total in the group, ( picture 2 )and they ranged in age, from about 18, to what appears to be well over 70. This may have caused a few tongues to wag in Halesowen, mixing young women with older men would have given some folks a sharp intake of breath, and a knowing wink or two. Although, and I would stress, there was no suggestion of anything untoward.



Rhoda Anstey did not carry on with the lease in 1907, but she needed bigger premises, and then moved to Yew Tree House, Chester Road, Erdington, Birmingham. She remained in charge for many years, taking on a deputy after 1920.  Her death came in 1936, in a Nursing home in Marylebone, Middlesex, when her address was given as Kings Welcome, Battledown, Cheltenham. ( They have a famous ladies college here )  She didn't die poor either, her estate had a value of £13,064.17s.7d, which in 1936, was a conciderable sum of money. The College she founded lasted until 1981, and she must have done a great deal of good over the years, for many of her pupils went on to have very succesful lives. I havn't as yet found one from Halesowen though.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

January 30, 2013 at 2:47 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Bradley Hall, Kingswinford.




No good looking for this now, because it became one of the causualties of neglect and lack of money to repair it. Not that its gone completely, for it was one of the few houses at the time, which were taken down, brick by brick, timber by timber, and erected elsewhere. Bradley Hall, was erected on the site of a previous house called Lyncroft, which itself was built c1320, on a site about a quater of a mile from the crossroads on the way into Kingswinford, from Dudley. The hall was erected in 1596, by one Dennis Bradley, a prominant local yeoman, who died in 1616. He may have carried on the same trade as Stephen atte Lyncroft, who grew Flax on the surrounding fields, for the production of Linseed Oil. An inventory made at the time of Mr Bradley's demise, showed the property, goods and chattels, to be worth £386.6s.4d, a veritable fortune, and testimony to his business sense. The property consisted of,on the ground floor, a hall, a parlour, pantry, buttery, closet, and kitchen; on the second floor, a chamber over the kitchen, a servants chamber, another chamber over the parlour, a chamber over the buttery, and a chamber over the hall; on the top floor, a mixture of small rooms called garrettes. As you can imagine, it was, for it's time, a very substantial building. In a " History and Antiquities of Staffordshire " , by the Rev Stebbings Shaw, ne describes the Hall and some of it's history.


" About the middle of the village, encompassed by lofty walls, stands an ancient half timbered mansion called " Bradley Hall ", with gable ends and mullioned and transomed windows and other marks of this picturesque architecture of the time it was erected-1596- that date being visible on the outside of of one of the windows, it is now the property of the Homfray family, but is is now only inhabited by a tenant, Richard Taylor, aged 82 in 1799, who was baptised therein when part of it was made use of as a Roman Catholic Chapel.


The floor plan was in the form of a letter E, common during the reign of Elizabeth 1, and the addition of a Catholic Chapel must have come after the persecutions finished, or it was constructed before, as a secret chamber. There were many rumours that the Hall contained secret passages as well, borne out by a short piece that Shaw also added.


" It was built without foundation upon the solid Sandstone, between The Green and Townsend..... And by the side of one of it's chimneys is a hollow leading down from a bedroom through a small aperture to the outer air, and evidently constructed as a means of escape for Catholic and Non-Conformist worshippers alike in case of surprise, for it is on record, that it was also used as a place of worship in the time of the early Non-Conformists, presumably during the first half of the seventeenth century.


The Hall's main use though, was as a Farmhouse, being tenanted by a succession of yeoman gentlemen right up to the last one, Henry Webb, who was listed as a Farmer/Butcher. When he died, his family sold their interest, and the old Hall went to auction at the Cross Hotel, just down the road, on Monday, 11th February,1924. It was 330 years old, in bad condition, and the sale did not go well, eventually being completed by a Charles Corbett, another butcher, whose plan was to knock it down and build a new house on the site. It was while in this limbo state that someone examing the place fell down an old shaft, which, on inspection, led to a public house on the other side of the road, " The Bell ". It didn't stop there either, for the passage, allegedly, led on some distance to " Holbeach House ", which as most folk know, was associated with the " Gun Powder Plot ". All this activity reached the ears of Guy Pemberton, the designer of the handsome gates of Mary Stevens Park, Stourbridge, who then pursuaded a friend to aquire the house, and have it transported, to Stratford-on Avon. Only now did protests begin, but it was all too late, and in 1925 it was re-erected by Mr Withnall, as his family home, and renamed, Bradley Lodge.  The reason for this, was that the plot it was erected on, was smaller than it's original site, and several alterartions had to be done to the wings of the building. It still looks remarkably like the old pictures, and the interior has retained many features of the old Hall. But of course, it's not in Kingswinford, it's in Stratford, and the chance to retain such a treasure was sadly missed. Mind you, given how the regions old building have been shamefully  treated since, maybe it's a good thing that it was, and with a bit of luck it may last another 400 years. Location plan and Auction Notice can be seen in the " Images from the Forum " album, in the gallery.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

May 11, 2013 at 3:26 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Holbeche, or Holbeache House, Kingswinford.


Just a short piece on the old house mentioned in the post on Bradley Hall. The building was erected in 1600, by the Lyttelton Family, and was of three bays, very similar to the Hall. Holbeche House, ( the old spelling ) is mostly famous for it's part in the Gun Powder Plot of 1605, when the occupant was one Stephen Lyttelton. The plotters, led by Robert Catesby, fled when discovered, raiding Warwick Castle for supplies, and Hewell Grange, near Redditch, for arms and ammunition. Pursued by the posse of the Sherriff of Worcestershire, ( shades of the old wild west here ) Richard Walsh, they took shelter at Holbeche, Catesby dying in the ensuring gun battle, the rest being taken captive and then executed. The house suffered a little damage, ( which can still be seen, despite a facelift in the early part of the 19th century. ) Listed as Grade 2 by English Heritage in 1951, it is not open to the public, it's current use being a care home. Also mentioned in the Bradley Hall article, is the exsistance of a secret passage between the two houses. This is a myth, for it would mean that someone would have had to construct a tunnel, over a mile long, through the thick sandstone bedrock, high and wide enough, to convey fleeing Catholic priests and their congregations. I am surprised, the Rev Shaw, an otherwise diligent antiquarian, would be fooled into including such nonsense in his Staffordshire History. Mind you it was over two hundred years ago.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

May 12, 2013 at 10:28 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Himley Hall, Himley, Dudley.


While in the area of local old houses, I may as well mention this one.The site was once the home of the Sutton Family, who constructed a fortified Manor House, as befitted their title of Lords of Dudley. They appear to have their time both here and at Dudley Castle, where they had a reputation for variously exploiting for the peasantry and riding roughshod over the neighbours. The title passed to the Wards via marriage in 1658, and among the more illustrious members was one Dud Dudley, born it was said, the wrong side of the blanket. Famous for his experiments with smelting Iron, using the source of the families wealth, Coal, he lost out to others who stole the idea. In the 1750s, the Wards tore down the old Manor House and built the Hall, more or less as it can be seen today, and resided there until 1830, when, deemed to be a bit too close to the Black Country, they moved to the newly built, and much grander, Witly Court, in leafy and rural Worcestershire.



I should point out at this stage, that John Ward, when building the new hall, moved the entire village of Himley to a new location, even resorting to dismantling the ancient Church and moving that as well. A man of the people was Lord Dudley, except when they lived a little to close to him. The grounds were designed by Lancelot " Capability " Brown, bought in by Johns son, after his fathers death. Himley Hall though continued to be used for other functions, and when the family began to feel the pinch as the coal profits dropped, they sold Witly Court, and moved back to Himley. The family continued to entertain lavishly, but after the second World War, economic events forced the sale of Himley Hall, to of all people, The National Coal Board, sometime after 1947. The Hall was listed by English Heritage as Grade 2 in 1953, and followed a fire while it was undergoing conversation into their Headquarters. The South Wing, the part affected by the fire, was rebuilt, but not to the same design as the rest of the building, which produced some protests. In 1966, the Hall was again sold, this time to Dudley and Wolverhampton County Borough Councils, the former aquiring the whole site in 1988. It's now a Country Park, and a valuble asset of Dudley, attracting over 200,000 visiters a year, and among the many things you can do there, is actually get married at the Hall. Something that the early Suttons and Wards seem to have skipped over.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

May 12, 2013 at 11:22 AM Flag Quote & Reply

wilkesa
Member
Posts: 7

Cawney Bank House was demolished in about 1960 and I think houses were built on the site.

May 12, 2013 at 4:29 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

260,Hagley Road, Hasbury, Halesowen.


An update on website member " Historian ", ( aka Lee Hutchings ) attempts to obtain a listing for the Old Hasbury Nailers Cottage. He has finally succeeded,  ( Listed Grade 2 ) and my congratulations for the dogged persistance he has shown over the years. There is an extensive piece in this topic on the buildings history, and Lee has also posted some photographs, and comments, in the Picture Gallery. I hope Lee's efforts will be an inspiration to others, to speak out, and persue a dream. Once again, congratulations Lee.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

September 19, 2013 at 10:39 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

260, Hagley Road, Hasbury, Halesowen.


Now there's been a lot said so far about the listing of the above property. Lets see if we can clear up a few points. It's not the age of a building that determines if it should be listed, nor for that matter, is it's current condition. It just so happens, that this property is Venacular, ie, it was built without plans, by local men, using materials that are also local to the area. Sandstone from the local quarry, Timber, possibly from Uffmoor Wood, Bricks, maybe from nearby Lye. It's a crossover from rural use to industrial, and is the last one known in the area, to retain all the features, of a dwelling of the time. Restoring an old building isn't easy, it's nothing to do with the local planning department being picky, it has more to do with the now scarce materials it was built with in the first place. Thats not to mention the skill thats needed to handsaw roof timbers,and craft doors floor boards and windows. Then there's the morter composition, and the handmade bricks and roof tiles. and of course, the skill needed to work on a structure over two hundred years old. Even the glass was handmade. The age of the building, which I have had a guess at from the size of the bricks, hasn't been determined yet. I would be surprised if the bricks dated from before 1760, as they appear to have made following the Tax applied in the later part of the 1770s, when George III  was bit short of the readies to finance the countries efforts in the American War of Independence. They were made bigger to reduce the number required for a building. The addition of the Nailshop, seems to show bricks more in keeping with the short Regency Period. The property looks to have been built between 1780, and 1800, and only time will tell if those dates are accurate. Another question is " how much will it cost to buy the building "? There is no indication as yet, that it will be put on the market, and even if the owner does decide to sell, That Grade II Listing, together with all the conditions that go with it, will have surely put the price beyond most ordinary folks budgets. The only thing to do now, is wait and see, and trust Dudley Council to take the right action, which I for one believe they will.



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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

September 26, 2013 at 3:54 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Belle Vue House. Lord Lyttelton, Walter Somers.


Millions of people have passed this house over the years, a great many not realising just how old it is. It sits on the top of Mucklow Hill, and  is the western end of a ridge of high ground only a few feet lower than Barr Beacon, in Staffordshire. The land on the top was called Ridgacre, a narrow strip that stretched between The Quinton, and down towards the town of Oldbury. For administration purposes, it came under Halesowen. The House, a neat little brick built structure of two stories and five bays, was probably built in 1700 by Sir Charles Lyttelton, the 3rd Baronet of Frankley. ( 1628-1716 ) His near neighbour being the dwelling of William Shenstone, poet, at The Leasowes. The Lytteltons lived here, ejoying the superb views out to the Welsh borders until 1774, when Thomas, Lord Lyttelton, leased the property to Edward Green, having made the move to what became the faimilies permanent home, Hagley Hall, from the other family home at Frankley. There was a great deal of poverty among the Nailers and Labourers of Halesowen, which greatly upset George Green, so in 1789, as he lay dying, he began a tradition that lasted almost 200 years. As well as the house, he also owned, and rented, several cottages and Farms about the area, some on the 23 acres of the house itself. He decreed, that 52 shillings a year, from the rents, should be distributed in the form of 12 penny loaves a week, to those in most need. The distribution, under the control of the parish Church wardens, was made every Sunday, after the afternoon service. The practice ceased in 1973, when The Midland Electricity Board made a final payment of £62.60p. After George Greens death, the house was taken on by the Male family, James Male, a manufacturer from Birmingham, who had arrived in Halesowen a few years ealier, arrived with his wife Maria, and three children, Helen, Caroline, and Henry. He may have anticipated the unrest that was in the country, but in the event, the move failed to protect him from the outrage of a mob during the Priestly Riots of 1791. With his wife pregnant with their fourth child, Lucy, in early July, a mob arrived from Birmingham, rampaging through the area, demanding money and goods in return for not destroying the property. Word had already reached Magistrate Justice Woodcock, who set off for help on a fast horse to summon help from the militia based there. He arrived at 9pm, and an hour later, 16 men of the Light Horse, led by The Earl of Aylesford, rode into the grounds of Belle Vue House. They were in the nick of time, for James Male was under serious threat of violence, and, at the sight of the troops, the mob fled. Hounded over fields and hedges, eleven of them were eventually caught by the townfolk of Halesowen, and  thrown into the towns dungeon. Panic over, the troops set off back to Birmingham, only to be recalled, after one man escaped.(They had forgotten to lock and bolt the Dungeon door ) Safely now under lock and key, the weary troops, no doubt shaking their heads at their country bumpkins antics, finally got back to their beds at 1am. The Males lived in the property, for most of the 1800s, adding several Cottages, increasing the estate, and later, installing a rather grand staircase, leasing it out when James Died, and went off to live a comfortable life, in leafy Edgbaston, Birmingham. Enter Walter Somers, for dispite what the stories say, (That he had bought the house in 1907) he was living at Belle Vue House in 1901, and he was not the kind of man who would rent or lease. The records differ again, when it comes to installing electricity in the house, in 1910. This was the work of Seth Somers, and it did not involve running in power from the Haywood forges generator, at the bottom of Mucklow Hill. He was an Engineer with a bit of adventure was our Seth, and he installed, about 70 feet from the house, a Wind Powered Generator. This did not directly power the electic lights, but charged up the Chloride Batteries that Seth installed in the out buildings, and powered the low wattage bulbs. It was reported in the newspapers, that the yearly cost of running the system, ( 1911 ) including, Lubricating Oil, Grease, and Distilled water, came to only 10 shillings. Oh,to be able to go back in time. After Walters death in 1917, and with the house now on mains powered Electricity, the house passed into the hands of another local company, Stewart and Lloyds, who found the grounds however, at 25 acres, and mostly on a slope, proving to be unsatisfactory to the firms plans, and the house again changed hands, this time, to the grandly named, Shropshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire Electric Power Company, and another they owned,  British Electric Tramways, the very company that owned another well known midland firm, The Midland Red Ominibus Company. All the Trams that operated in the Black Country, were controlled from the extentions that had been added, including a Bowling Green and Pavilion. The house was further added to in the 1930s.


Most folk will be familar with the next stage in the life of Belle Vue House, for on 1st April,1948, the Electric Companies were all merged into different area boards, So the Midland Electric Board, The MEB, to us, came into being. They chose The house as their Headquarters, for it had a commanding and imposing position on the top of the hill, and as it wasn't quite big enough, added a north wing as extra office space. This also proved to be not big enough, and in 1982, they added a matching south wing, which restored some of the symmetry to the building. Unfortunatly, in 1989, there was a fire in the garage and workshop areas, which again required some building work and a few more alterations, but the building was soon back to normal. The years have moved on however, and with the privatisation of the old Electricity Boards, the house was no longer needed, and it became surplus to the new requirements. Thankfully, as with many old properties, if you persist, a new use can sometimes be found, and today, the building is occupied by several commercial companies. The staff who use the building, can still look out, on a very similar view enjoyed by the Lytteltons over 300 years ago. I wonder if they realise how lucky they are.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

February 16, 2014 at 12:01 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

I have already mentioned Hagley Hall, so here is a bit of history you might not know. The estate was purchased by one John Lyttelton, from a cash strapped John St Ledger, in 1565. There was already a substancial house on the site before this date, and given that the history goes back a long way, the original must have been a much altered medieval structure. The present Hagley Hall, built of Sandstone, dates from about 1774, itself having being altered following a severe fire in 1925. The third floor servants rooms were not rebuilt. Built in the Palladian style, it's a magnificent edifice, standing in some of the finest landscaped parkland in the county of Worcestershire. The grounds are dotted with Temples, an obelisk, several other follies, and a mock castle. ( constructed with some of the sandstone stonework from Halesowen Abbey )



Like many old houses, it takes a great deal of effort and money to maintain, and over the years, it's had a few ups and downs. During the latter part of the Victorian era, the grounds were opened up to the public, and with the addition of the location, being at the foot of the Clent Hills, proved to be a great attraction for the people of the Black Country. ( see Hagley Hall and Clent, a Grand day out,1915 )  Sometime in the 1960s, the grounds were closed, and the Hall began to show signs of wear and tear. Rescued from total ruin, by the incumbant Viscount Cobham, who turned his home into a Wedding and Conference centre to help pay for the crippling death duties he inherited, when he died in 2006, the financial situation was, if anything, worse. The present 12th Viscount Cobham, despite the difficulties, sold off 35 acres of the acres of the estate to Carla Homes, who built 220 house on the land, and the money raised, together with grants from the National Trust and English Heritage, paid for the refurbishment of the Hall, which is now in excellent condition. The running costs of such large properties though, can be a terrible burden on the owners, in the estates case, between 3 and £400,000 per year. In order to keep the family in control, the house and grounds in good order, and pass it on to their descendents, it becomes neccessary to generate some extra income.



A fact that some folk from the area, haven't quite grasped yet. A Planning Application has been made, to construct a seperate car and coach park, a visitors centre, and a wardens lodge, to the north of the house, which will enable the Park to be open once again to the public. A great deal of work has already been done, and  I for one. look forward to seeing a great many enjoy the beauty of the place, as I did when I was a lot younger. Some say that the buildings will spoil the view from the Clent Hills, that statement, given that some of the views look out over the Black Country and Birmingham, is a bit pointless. The old Hall will, given that Lord Cobham gets the go-ahead, bring in some much needed finance, enhance the attraction of the Hills, and hopefully, secure the future of the remaining Park land. Next year, marks 450 years of occupation by the Lyttelton family, and I wish the present Viscount Cobham, his wife and family, and their supporters, the best of luck with the project. This website may deal with the past, but it's owner lives firmly in the real world, the 21st century.



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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

August 3, 2014 at 4:05 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Pedro
Member
Posts: 25

Alaska. at May 12, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Himley Hall, Himley, Dudley.


While in the area of local old houses, I may as well mention this one.The site was once the home of the Sutton Family, who constructed a fortified Manor House, as befitted their title of Lords of Dudley. They appear to have their time both here and at Dudley Castle, where they had a reputation for variously exploiting for the peasantry and riding roughshod over the neighbours. The title passed to the Wards via marriage in 1658, and among the more illustrious members was one Dud Dudley, born it was said, the wrong side of the blanket. Famous for his experiments with smelting Iron, using the source of the families wealth, Coal, he lost out to others who stole the idea. In the 1750s, the Wards tore down the old Manor House and built the Hall, more or less as it can be seen today, and resided there until 1830, when, deemed to be a bit too close to the Black Country, they moved to the newly built, and much grander, Witly Court, in leafy and rural Worcestershire.



I should point out at this stage, that John Ward, when building the new hall, moved the entire village of Himley to a new location, even resorting to dismantling the ancient Church and moving that as well. A man of the people was Lord Dudley, except when they lived a little to close to him. The grounds were designed by Lancelot " Capability " Brown, bought in by Johns son, after his fathers death. Himley Hall though continued to be used for other functions, and when the family began to feel the pinch as the coal profits dropped, they sold Witly Court, and moved back to Himley. The family continued to entertain lavishly, but after the second World War, economic events forced the sale of Himley Hall, to of all people, The National Coal Board, sometime after 1947. The Hall was listed by English Heritage as Grade 2 in 1953, and followed a fire while it was undergoing conversation into their Headquarters. The South Wing, the part affected by the fire, was rebuilt, but not to the same design as the rest of the building, which produced some protests. In 1966, the Hall was again sold, this time to Dudley and Wolverhampton County Borough Councils, the former aquiring the whole site in 1988. It's now a Country Park, and a valuble asset of Dudley, attracting over 200,000 visiters a year, and among the many things you can do there, is actually get married at the Hall. Something that the early Suttons and Wards seem to have skipped over.

A link to a picture of the old South Staffs Railway, now a footpath, with Himley Hall being off to the left. Of course you can't see the Hall as Lord Dudley had it hidden by an avenue of trees!

 

http://www.panoramio.com/photo/35937984

 

 

October 1, 2015 at 5:27 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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