The Victorian Age
A History of Allerton and Mossley Hill @ allertonOak  
A History of Allerton and Mossley Hill home page
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Historical Background
The influx of wealthy merchants, lawyers and the like really gathered pace during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901). Their wealth mostly derived from shipping interests and the associated commerce. They built their grand, though, it has to be said, not always beautiful, mansions in the leafier areas. In the process Allerton became the wealthiest suburb in Liverpool.   The greatest concentrations of these properties were to be found along and off Allerton Road between Rose Lane and Woolton Road, and around the northern end of Mossley Hill Road. This was also the period when the Gothic Revival in architecture gathered pace and many of the properties built in the second half of the century adopted this style. In fact, a reliable guide to whether a house predates or postdates the 1850s is whether the style is Italianate/Classical or Gothic. In the century leading up to 1901, the population of Allerton increased sixfold to 1101, but the area remained largely rural.
Springwood and the Brocklebank Family
Springwood (Woolton Road and Springwood Avenue) dates from 1839 and may have been designed by John Cunningham, who also designed the original Philharmonic Hall among a number of other notable Liverpool buildings; he lived on Percy Street and may have designed some of those houses. The house was built for plantation owner William Shand, who never completed it. It was bought and completed in the 1840s by Sir Thomas II Brocklebank (1814-1906) of the famous shipping family.
The shipbuilding and shipping company was founded in Whitehaven, Cumberland, in 1770 by Daniel Brocklebank (1741-1801). It became the Brocklebank Line in 1801 when two of the sons, Thomas I (1744-1848) and John (1739-1831), took control after their father's death. Thomas I moved to Liverpool in 1819, leaving John in Whitehaven to run the Bransty shipyard and ropery.
Springwood Lodge
Daniel's daughter Anne (1777-1835) married Wilson Fisher (1744-1844), and their son Thomas II moved to Liverpool in 1831 to assist his uncle in the family business. He adopted this mother's maiden name in 1845. He was Justice of the Peace, High Sherriff and Deputy Lieutenant of Cumberland. He became Sir Thomas II Brocklebank, 1st Baronet Brocklebank of Greenlands (Cumberland) and Springwood, in 1885. The baronetcy survives in the 6th Baronet Sir Aubrey Thomas Brocklebank (b.1952), now living in Northamptonshire.   In 1911, following Thomas II's death, Springwood was being looked after by a caretaker. Soon after that, presumably, the family sold the house. The lodge and extensive stable blocks survive as housing and the house itself is now a nursing home.
Hart Hill Lodge
Hart Hill and the Bibby Family
Hart Hill (Harthill Road) was built for John Bibby II (1810-1883), a merchant and second son of John Bibby I (1775-1840), shipping magnate and founder of the Bibby Line in 1805. The house was probably constructed in around 1840 and the main lodge on Harthill Road probably dates from that time. Later, but before 1890, a second lodge was constructed on Calderstones Road. The path that still runs alongside this lodge into Calderstones Park is what remains of the original driveway.
John I Bibby was murdered by footpads in 1840 on returning to his home on Linacre Marsh, Bootle. Three of his sons took over the running of the business (one went into the church), but John II outlived the others to take sole control in 1855.
The New Lodge
John II married Fanny Hartley, daughter of Jesse Hartley (1780-1860), famous for his work constructing the Albert Dock and much else along the Liverpool waterfront. As a monument to her father she erected a granite pillar, a sample provided for dock construction, in the grounds of Hart Hill; it can still be seen. She died before him, however, in 1856. As a memorial to her, John II had a window installed in his local church, All Saints in Childwall. He later decided on a much greater tribute and donated 20,000 for the construction of All Hallows church in Allerton, which was completed in 1876.   John II remarried to Emily Hesketh in 1860. The family sold the shipping business in 1873. John II died in 1883 and Emily continued to live at Hart Hill until her death in 1899. The house was taken over by John Bibby III (1839-1898) in 1883. His eldest son John Hartley Bibby (1865-1938) lived away and the house passed to John II and Fanny's younger son Alfred Bibby (1847-1920) in 1898. In the first decade of the 20th century, the house was sold to St. Helens glass manufacturer Charles Joseph Bishop (1852-1923). He sold most of the grounds to Liverpool Corporation in 1913 to form the Harthill Estate extension to Calderstones Park. He may have moved out at that time because his death was registered in Prescot. At any rate the house eventually fell into disuse and was demolished in the early 1930s. Only the lodges now survive.
Holmestead and William Imrie
The earliest part of Holmestead is the early Victorian Tudor style south side, designed by A. H. Holme, which dates from about 1845 and was the home of surveyor Samuel Holme (b.1802). There are two lodges, one on Mossley Hill Road and one on Rose Lane, both dating from this time. The house was bought by the the cotton broker Michael Belcher (1816-1888) in the late 1860s, who doubled it in size in 1869-70 and added the entrance tower and conservatory.
In the 1890s, the house was bought by retired shipowner and art collector William Imrie (1837-1906). He had a music room and held music parties there. In this room at the time was the famous painting The Tree of Forgiveness by Edward Burne-Jones, acquired after his death by William Lever and now in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight. The library contains an 1895 William Morris stained glass window of Burne-Jones's St Cecilia. Upon Imrie's death, the house was acquired by stockbroker Henry Heyward Noble (1861-1934). The house subsequently became a convent and then apartments.
Holmestead Rose Lane Lodge
Mossley Hill Road c.1930
Besford Grange
North Mossley Hill Road
The northern part of Mossley Hill Road was one of the most desirable areas for wealthy merchants of Victorian times. In terms of the survival of properties to the present day, it has fared far better than most of the area.
Starting at the northern end of Mossley Hill Road and heading south is a group of five mansions dating from the 1840s, Godwyn, Lynton and Besford Grange on the left, and Beechlands and Mossley Vale House on the right. They have been subsumed into the present Liverpool College. Liverpool College moved to its present site in 1929, although several acres in Mossley Hill were purchased as playing fields in 1896 and the present pavilion was built in 1905. Further land and building purchases took place up to 1936.
By 1891 and until his death, Godwyn was the home of Thomas Bellringer Howarth (1839-1917), a solicitor and Registrar of Liverpool County Court. By 1891 and until his death, Lynton was owned by brewer John Adams Bartlett (1826-1901); his widow Ada Jane was still living there in 1911. By 1891 Besford Grange was owned by corn merchant Ernest Woodward (b.1843). Shipbroker James Frederick Browne (1842-1913) was living there in 1901 and until his death. Beechlands was the home of foreign general merchant Herbert William Rowe (1854-1918) in 1901. Mossley Vale House was the home of landowner Alfred Graham (1815-1873) by 1861 and until his death. Thereafter his widow Anne Harrison Graham (1822-1902) lived on there for many years until her death. It was subsequently acquired by corn merchant Thomas William Right (1843-1922), who lived there until his death.
On the other side of the present Queens Drive, mansions line both sides of the road and there are many more along Elmsley Road, although Elmsley itself has gone. Back on Mossley Hill Road, notable examples are, on the right, Wiston House, home in 1901 and until his death of German born Frederick Ferdinand Conrad Herzog (1847-1929), a general foreign merchant and exporter. Brucklay House was owned by South America merchant Hugh Brown (1839-1911) by 1901 and until his death. Further along, Linwood (1869) was owned by 1891 and until his death by John Lea (1851-1927), a coal merchant, who probably acquired it from shipowner Walter Holland (1843-1915), who moved to Carnatic Hall in the 1870s.
On the left are Elmswood, built before 1840 for merchant Thomas Sands (b.1791) and extended in 1878 by the owner, cotton broker Nicholas Duckworth (1817-1889), and Clearwood home in 1891 of Mary Fletcher, probably the widow of banker William Fletcher (1803-1886). On Carnatic Road, Redcourt was the home by 1901 and until his death of William Parkfield Wethered (1864-1917), a chemicals company director.
Mossley House (Mossley Hill Hospital)
Mossley House (Park Avenue) is another mansion designed by Alfred Waterhouse and was completed in about 1870. It is one of his vast Gothic creations, built for general broker Lloyd Rayner (1822-1876), whose wife Anne remained there after his death into the 1880s. From about 1890 until at least 1911, the house seems to have been empty, being looked after by caretaker and gardener George Rugg. It may never have served as a house again, as, following the First World War, it operated as a Ministry of Pensions hospital, which was incorporated into the National Health Service in 1948. Over the years, buildings spread out into the original grounds and remain as Mossley Hill Hospital today.
Mossley House
Allerton Tower and the Earle Family
Allerton Tower was designed by Harvey Lonsdale Elmes, who is most famous for St. George's Hall in Liverpool, and was completed in 1849, two years after Elmes's death. It was built by Sir Hardman Earle (1792-1877), who became 1st Baronet of Allerton Tower in 1869. He was the son of Thomas Earle (1754-1822), Mayor of Liverpool in 1787, and great-grandson of John Earle, Mayor of Liverpool in 1709.
Allerton Tower in its heyday
The Earle family had begun to purchase land in Allerton around the beginning of the 19th century. Hardman began as a merchant and broker and became one of the original promoters of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. He joined the board in 1828 and was present at the famous incident during the opening ceremonies in 1830 when William Huskisson was killed by a train. He also became director of the London and North Western Railway. Earlestown in Lancashire was named after him because of his involvement in viaduct construction for the railways and the jobs and housing that it brought to the area.
Hardman was succeeded by his eldest son Sir Thomas Earle (1820-1900), the 2nd Baronet, who married into the Fletcher family and was Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant for Lancashire. He in turn was succeeded by his eldset son Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Henry Earle (1854-1939), the 3rd Baronet, who had a distinguished military career and received the D.S.O. in 1887. He sold the estate to Liverpool Corporation in 1924. The house was demolished and the landscaped grounds were opened to the public in 1927 as Allerton Tower Park. All that remains today of the original buildings are the classically inspired lodge on Woolton Road and the orangery and stables. The baronetcy survives in the 6th Baronet Sir Hardman George Algernon Earle (b.1932), now living in Devon.
Allerton Tower Orangery
Allerton Tower Lodge
New Heys in an 1862 drawing by Alfred Waterhouse
New Heys
New Heys, on Allerton Road, is one of Alfred Waterhouse's earlier mansions, completed in 1865 for lawyer William Ganby Bateson (1817-1881). It was acquired from him, probably on his death, by shipowner John William Hughes (1844-1917), who lived there until his death. The large Gothic structure has recently been converted into apartments.
New Heys today
Of the two mansions on Harthill Road that have been subsumed into the present Calderstones School, the older is the more northerly one, the Italianate Hartfield, probably dating from the late 1840s. Aaron Brown (1814-1883), a provision merchant operating from Chapel Street in the city centre, moved into the house in the 1850s and lived there until the 1880s, presumably until his death. It was then bought by shipowner John Bankes Walmsley (1829-1896), who added the sandstone tower, porch and verandah. His widow Caroline Moody Walmsley was still living in the house in 1911, and perhaps until its sale in the early 1920s, when it became Calder High School for Girls. The lodge also survives on Calderstones Road.
Hartfield Lodge
Quarry Bank
Quarry Bank
The mansion to the south, the gothic Quarry Bank, was built for timber merchant James Bland (1821-1872). It was named after the quarry that once stood on the site. On his death it was bought by Stewart Henry Brown (1831-1905), an America merchant and foreign banker born in the USA. When he died, it became the home of general draper William Henry Watts (1825-1924), who had been living at Elm Hall. It may well have been he who sold it for conversion into Quarry Bank High School for Boys in 1921, which became famous as the alma mater of Beatle John Lennon. It merged with Calder High School for Girls in 1967 to become Quarry Bank Comprehensive School and is now Calderstones School. The lodge, coach house and stables also survive; the lodge functions as a gatehouse for the school.
Quarry Bank Lodge
Beechenhurst (Carleton House)
Beechenhurst (Carleton House)
Beechenhust (Menlove Avenue) was probably built for Sir Edward Percy Bates (1845-1899), 2nd Baronet of Bellefield (Lancashire), an East India merchant, and his wife Constance Elizabeth (1857-1930) around the time of their marriage in 1876. The name of the house means beech wood (the trees are still very much in evidence in the area).
Edward's father was Sir Edward Bates (1816-1896), 1st Baronet of Bellefield, ship-owner and Conservative politician. Edward Percy succeeded to the title of 2nd Baronet upon the death of his father and then moved to Gyrn Castle, Holywell, Flintshire, where he was High Sheriff of Flintshire at the time of his death. His second son Sir Percy Elly Bates (1879-1946), 4th Baronet, was at various times chairman of Cunard, a director of the Midland Bank and the Great-Western Railway, High Sheriff of Cheshire, a Knight Grand Cross OBE, Justice of the Peace for Cheshire and Freeman of the City of London. His portrait hangs in Liverpool's Maritime museum. The baronetcy survives in the 7th Baronet Sir James Geoffrey Bates (b.1985). Beechenhurst is now a preparatory school called Carleton House.
Acknowledgements and Further Reading
You can find out more about the Brocklebank family, the Earle Family and the Bates family at The Peerage. For the Bibby family and the Bibby Line see The Red Duster. Census returns, available from several genealogical websites for a subscription fee, provide further information about the families. For a thorough discussion of the architecture, Lancashire: Liverpool and the South-West (The Buildings of England, Pevsner Architectural Guides), Richard Pollard & Nikolaus Pevsner, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2006 is a must read.
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