Friday, 25 May 2018

Hough End Hall reveals a few more bits of its history

Hough End Hall dates back to the late 1590s, and has been a posh home for the landed gentry, a farm house for 250 years, more recently was a restaurant and briefly a set of offices.

Hough End Hall in 1849
Despite that long history there is very little left.  The grand staircase now resides in Tatton Hall, while the old wooden ceiling beams had been encased in pretend oak beams and then hidden under a false ceiling.

Added to which some of the exterior suffered from what was described as unsympathetic restoration in the 1960s and the upper storey has been closed off for at least half a century.

So, it is not a happy tale and one which in the 1920s could even have been a story of demolition to make way for what is now Mauldeth Road West.

Upstairs, 1964
Today there are a dwindling number of people who can talk about the building when it was still part of a farm, a few more who will have memories of playing in the place when it was empty and more who dined and danced the night away when it was a successful restaurant.

But by the time people ate their steak dinners, and listened to live music both the ground floor and the first floor had been gutted and were just two open spaces.

I do have a series of pictures in the collection which features in stories of the Hall. *

They include the garden and the last family who lived there, along with detailed plans commissioned by the Egerton family in the 1930s, but nothing of the interior features.

And as these things go I suspected I would never come across any evidence other than anecdotal of what the inside was like.

All of that has changed with a remarkable set of photographs which have been added to the City Library’s collection of images.**

The roof space, 1964
"The Town Hall Photographer’s Collection is a large photographic collection held in Manchester City Council’s Central Library archives, ranging in date from 1956 to 2007.

The collection consists of tens of thousands of images, covering the varied areas of work of Manchester Corporation and latterly, Manchester City Council.

The photographs were taken by staff photographers, who were tasked to document the work of Corporation/Council departments and, in doing so, captured many aspects of Manchester life and history, including significant changes to the Manchester landscape.

The collection includes many different formats from glass negatives, to slides, prints, CDs and even a couple of cine films.

What is especially exciting is that the majority of these images have never before been available in a digital format and therefore have only ever been seen by a handful of people.

Looking out through the roof space, 1964
A team of dedicated Staff and Volunteers are currently working on the systematic digitisation of the negatives held within the collection."**

And that brings me to the Hough End Hall pictures, which appear to have been taken on March 25 1964, possibly as the building was passing out of the hands of the Bailey family to a developer and they may have been taken as part of the process of determining the Hall’s future in relation a planning applications.

Some show the upstairs rooms minus the fireplaces, others the roof space and others again a staircase up to the lost second floor.

Wattle and daub wall, 1964
This now hidden floor was once home to some of the staff who worked the land when Hough End Hall was at the centre of a 250 acre farm.

My own favourite is a picture which shows one of the original wattle and daub interior walls which I guess must date back to the late 16th century when the Hall was built.

All of which just reinforces that old observation that the past is never fixed and there is always something new waiting around the corner to offer up a fresh bit of the story.

Location; Hough End Hall, as was Withington

Pictures; Hough End Hall in 1849, from The Family Memoirs, Sir Oswald Mosley, 1849, interior of the Hall, March 1964, an upstairs room, 19640758, in the roof space 1964 0743 and the wattle and daub wall, 1964 0759,

*Hough End Hall

**Manchester Archives+ Photos, Hough End Hall,

1 comment:

  1. I went to a wedding reception there in the80s.

    And since I have been on an informative walk, and bought the book