Friday, 13 November 2015

Stories of Hough End Hall in the 1970s

Now I am intrigued by these three images of Hough End Hall.

They are some of the last from those in the digital collection and date from 1970.

It is a period in the hall’s long history that I know very little about.

From the 1920s it had been in danger of demolition when the new road to the south was being planned and later still there were suggestions to retain the facade while knocking down the rest.

During the next decade there were counter calls for its restoration along with proposals to give it a community use but nothing happened and it remained in agricultural use up to the mid 1960s when it was sold to a development company who after two unsuccessful attempts managed to get panning permission “for the restoration of the hall with two small office blocks.”*

 The original plan had included a filling station which the Corporation opposed as “damaging to the character of this old Historic Building.”

The final deal involved the developers “signing an agreement with the corporation which would ensure the restoration of the hall” and additional conditions  “about tree protection and landscaping.”

And “stipulating that restoration should retain the original character and that  all external material must be similar to or in keeping with those originally used” with the further proviso  that there “was to be no additions or alterations.”

It was a stipulation which failed to be kept for despite the Corporation’s denials there were accusations from the Ancient Monuments Society that the restoration had been “botched including reconstituted stone for the window mullions, sills and heads and that the inside had been gutted.”

Meanwhile the office development according to the letting agents, Dunlop Heywood changed hands “so many times that nobody knew what was happening,”

Finally International Colloids sold out to Burns Anderson in association with Norwich Union and at this point the hall structure was strengthed to allow the building of Mauldeth House  which might have threatened the foundations of the old building.

And it is here that our three pictures come into play, for the first two clearly show the extent to which the exterior was “restored.”

Then and now that works stands out and hits you in the face.

But that said the Hall is now tucked away and dwarfed by the two office builds.

The first was completed in 1970 and was named Crown House and its four storeys accounted for 25,000 square feet of office space.

Three years later it was joined by the even bigger Mauldeth House with 50,000 square feet spread over seven floors.

I am not sure that it is one of those stories which has turned out well.

*Hall or nothing at all, Robert Waterhouse, Manchester Guardian, April 21 1973

Pictures; Hough End Hall in 1970 by H Milligan, m48587, m47856 and m47854, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council,

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