Tuesday 20 January 2015

Demolition of Worsley New Hall: 1949

In 1944, Worsley New Hall was sold to Sydney Littler, a scrap merchant from Ashton in Makerfield, for £2,500. Demolition began in 1946 and included the dismantling of the footbridge over Leigh Road.

By 1949, just over 100 years after it had been built, the Hall was completely demolished.

The draft agreement between Bridgewater Estates Ltd and Sydney Littler for the demolition of Worsley New Hall:

In 1951, the War Department once again requisitioned a portion of the New Hall estate. The Department built a reinforced concrete bunker and two radar masts for anti-aircraft operations.

This is what the bunker looks like today:
The signals room 

The blockhouse 

The plotting room 

Worsley New Hall in WW2

During World War 2, parts of the New Hall site were requisitioned by the War Office.

In 1939 and 1940, the Hall and gardens were occupied by the 2nd/8th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers as a training ground. Around 100 troops were accommodated on the site; training trenches were dug in the grounds and the basements of the Hall used as air raid shelters.

Over the course of the early 20th century, the Hall had fallen into disrepair. While the Hall was under military occupation, the entrance gates on Leigh Road were damaged, windows to the building were smashed and there were reports that interior fittings had been used for firewood.

Although the War Department was fined to cover the cost of the repairs, in September 1943 the top floor of the building was badly damaged by fire.

An assessment of the damage caused by the fire:

Worsley New Hall in WW1

At the outbreak of World War 1, the 4th Earl and his wife lent Worsley New Hall to the British Red Cross. The Hall became a hospital for wounded soldiers. The hospital could accommodate up to 132 pateints. 884 patients were treated there in the first year alone!

Here is a photograph of the British Red Cross Hospital staff:

The large lofty rooms of the Hall were converted into wards, sitting rooms and dining rooms, and the gardens and boating lake were used for recreation. The greenhouses and kitchen gardens provided patients with fruit and vegetables and at Christmas, the Hospital was decorated with evergreens and a fir tree.

Here are some photographs of soldiers at Worsley New Hall during WW1:

Officers on the terrace

Officers and a motor-car outside Worsley New Hall 

An officer next to the terrace steps 

Officers on the lake

Officers playing croquet 

Officers relaxing on the terraces 

Officers rowing on the lake 

Following the end of World War 1 and the closure of the hospital in 1919, the Egerton family struggled with the financial upkeep of the New Hall and gardens. In 1920, the 4th Earl began to break up the Hall and sold items of its furniture and fittings at auction.

In 1923, the Worsley Estate was sold to Bridgewater Estates Limited for £3,300,000. Efforts made by the company to sell the Hall in the 1920s and 1930s were without success.

Here is a photograph of the 'Worsley Wail' - an unofficial chronicle of the Worsley Red Cross Hospital: 

King Edward VII visits Worsley New Hall: July 1909

In July 1909, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra visited Worsley New Hall on 6th July 1909. The occasion was a Review of the East Lancashire Division of the Territorial Army in the grounds of the Hall.

In the morning, the King formerly opened Manchester Royal Infirmary's new building on Oxford Road. He was so impressed with the new facilities that he knighted hospital Chairman, William Cobbett, on the spot.

Here is a photograph of King Edward VII opening the new Manchester Royal Infirmary:


He then travelled to Worsley by car where the party had lunch with the Earl of Ellesmere.

The Review took place on land south of the Bridgewater Canal and temporary bridges were constructed over the canal to allow the Royal party access to the Royal Box and Grand Stands.

Here is a photograph of King Edward VII leaving Worsley New Hall:


Sunday 18 January 2015

Queen Victoria visits Worsley New Hall: June/July 1857

Queen Victoria visited Worsley New Hall for a second time in June/July 1857. Her visit coincided with her visit to the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition at Trafford Park.

Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition, May 1857 - October 1857

Her Majesty travelled from the New Hall to the Exhibition by horse and carriage, going through Worsley, Swinton and Pendleton.

The Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition is the largest art exhibition ever to be held in the UK, with over 16,000 works on display.

Back at the New Hall, the Queen planted a North American giant redwood tree on the lawn in memory of the Duke of Wellington who had died in 1852.

Queen Victoria's diary entries:

Monday 29th June 1857

Arriving at Worsley New Hall:
'Stopped at Tamworth, for a light dinner, going on again at 8, reaching Patricroft station at 10.20. Young Lady Ellesmere and her youngest brother-in-law, received us there. Lady Ellesmere, and family party, Lady Blanch, Lady Alice & Mr Byng, Lord Cawdor, the Evelyns and Balfours at Worsley. On arriving had supper for ourselves & children in our rooms, — the same we occupied in 51.'  
Tuesday 30th June 1857

The Queen visits Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition:
'Dull morning, & rain in the night. — Breakfast early & started for Manchester, at 9, with our whole Party (the Ellesmeres excepted, he, being unwell)... Did not reach the Exhibition till ¼ p. 11, going all through the town. Most enormous crowds, more than I ever saw before, enthusiastic began belief, with such kind & friendly faces. The streets beautifully decorated with flowers, flags & draperies, Triumphal Arches, and endless kind & appropriate inscriptions. So much affection displayed towards my beloved Albert, — so many kind allusions to Vicky & Fritz. One inscription ran thus: "Albert, the Patron of Art, & promoter of Peace." There must have been ½ a million of people out. The Exhibition is much in the style of the Dublin one, only much larger, — & it was very full.'

Lord Ellesmere is in bad health:
'Returned as we came, & had much rain, but all the people out, just the same. — No one, but those in the house, to dinner. Sat between Lord Ellesmere, who took me in, and Fritz. A pleasant family, but he, poor man, has such bad health.'   

Wednesday 1st July 1857 

Second visit to Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition:
Again dull & cold. — Breakfasted in a small Library... Off to Manchester at 10, as yesterday, but not in state, though, of course, with an Escort. Went straight to the Exhibition, a short way. It was entirely empty. Examined all the splendid works of art, in cases, in the nave: specimens of ivory & wood carving, China glass, enamels, ornaments, & relics of all sorts & kinds, then, the most interesting portraits...'

Queen Victoria visits her statue:
'At 2, I left with the girls & Ladies, driving back, through the Peel Park, Salford, and stopping there, to look at my statue.'

Here is a photograph of the statue: 


Back to Worsley New Hall to plant trees:
Albert, Fritz, and co — had gone to the mansion House, to receive an Address. — Walking and drawing with Vicky, the Dss of Sutherland & Lady Ellesmere, 1st, planting trees. So much done for the County and population by the late Lord Ellesmere. When we came in, found the Princess returned, and all had gone off very well. — Dinner as yesterday. Lord Ellesmere, pleasing & well informed, so are the whole family, & fond of all intellectual pursuits.'

Queen Victoria visits Worsley New Hall: October 1851

In October 1851, Queen Victoria visited Worsley New Hall. This was the first visit to the area for 150 years! She was accompanied by the Duke of Wellington, who was a close associate of the Earl.

She arrived by train at Patricroft Station and travelled to Worsley New Hall via the Bridgewater Canal. The water was dyed blue and the Earl of Ellesmere commissioned a Royal Barge.



The Ellesmere Polka was composed by Heinrich Blumer to commemorate the occasion of the Queen's visit.


Whilst Queen Victoria was staying at Worsley New Hall, she kept a diary - 

Thursday 9th October 1851 

Queen Victoria complaining about Salford weather!

'To our despair a wet morning, and hopelessly so! ... The road was lined with people, and all, poor things so wet! The atmosphere was so thick, one could see very little before one. Still, the reception was most enthusiastic, and the decorations beautiful. It is a fine town, with some very fine buildings. The streets were densely crowded, in spite of the horrible weather, and everything extremely well arranged, but the poor people were so wet and dirty.'

Describing her journey along the Bridgewater Canal: 
'The barge glided along in a most noiseless and fairylike manner, amidst the cheers of the people who lined the banks of the canal (the Bridgewater Canal) and passed under 2 beautifully decorated bridges, belonging to the villages, connected with the east collieries belonging to Lady Ellesmere. Two other barges conveyed the suite and some of the servants.'

Arriving at Worsley New Hall: 
'We reached the landing place in Worsley Park in ½ an hour and in 5 minutes were at the Hall door, where Lord Ellesmere, who is lame from gout, and walking with a stick, and poor Lady Brackley, who is so terribly delicate received us. The evening was so wet and thick, that one could see nothing out of the windows.'

Describing the Hall:
'The house is an Elisabethan one, only finished 5 years ago, — very handsome, comfortable and cheerful. The Drawingroom, is very fine, with 2 large projecting windows, and the Library is next to it, both opening into the Hall, which is arranged to sit in. Lady Ellesmere took us upstairs to our rooms which are very pretty; The setting room, extremely light, cheerful and comfortable, hung round with beautiful water colours, by different foreign artist. Our bed room and dressing rooms were close by.'

Friday 10th October 1951 

Queen Victoria visits Salford:
'At ½ p. 10 we started for Manchester, the day being fine and mild and everything "à soutait". Manchester is said to be 7 miles from Worsley, but I cannot think it is as much. We first came to Pendelton, a small place, where as everywhere else, there were factories & great preparations had been made. Schoolchildren were everywhere in profusion. Next came to Salford, where the crowd became very dense, it joins Manchester, and is in fact like Westminster & London... The mechanics and workpeople, dressed in their best & wearing white rosettes in their buttonholes, were ranged along the streets, both in Salford & Manchester, and very intelligent but painfully unhealthy & sickly population, men, as well as women, — they appeared to be.'

School children sang "God save the Queen":
'Before entering Salford, we went into Peel Park, the Mayor receiving us at the entrance and here was indeed a striking and I supposed totally unprecedented sight. 82,000 School Children were assembled... A pavilion was erected in the centre of the Park, under which we drove, but did not get out and here an Address was read, and the Children sang "God save the Queen" extremely well together...'

Returning to Worsley and visiting St. Mark's church: 
   'We returned as we came, the sun shining brightly & got to Worsley by 2... At 4 we walked out with the Children & the whole party, 1st visiting the Church, built by the Ellesmeres, which is very pretty... There were a great many people out, who frequently rather crowded upon us, but were very well behaved. We lastly went to the Garden, on the other side of the house. Came home a little after 6.'

Complaining about the weather (again) and watching an electric light display at Worsley New Hall:
'The evening very fine, but damp. Lancashire is very damp and muggy and it rains there almost more than anywhere else. The terraces in front of the house are very pretty, and the view from them very extensive... Several electric lights were displayed on the Terrace, giving quite the effect of sunshine, — really wonderful.'

Who designed Worsley New Hall?

Worsley New Hall was designed by architect, Edward Blore. Edward Blore was also famous for completing Buckingham Palace in 1850.

The New Hall cost just under £100,000 to build - the equivalent of around £6.7 million today. 

This was Edward Blore's original 19th century architectural drawing of the hall:


How can we find out about Worsley New Hall?

Between March 2012 and December 2012, the University of Salford and Peel Holdings Ltd carried out some research and an archaeological excavation to find out more information about Worsley New Hall.

Here is a photograph of the excavation site:

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And here are some photographs of what they found:

 A garden fountain, which would of looked like this:
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A basement fireplace, which survived the demolition of the hall.

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 An early 20th century light switch! 

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One of the many basement rooms.

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An early 20th century radiator!

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Where was Worsley New Hall?

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On this map, Worsley New Hall is marked as 'Worsley Hall.' You can also see Worsley Old Hall, which is now a popular pub in Worsley, next to the Marriott hotel. St. Mark's church is also on the map. From looking at this map, it looks like Worsley New Hall was situated near the top of Leigh Road.

Here is a photograph of the entrance to Worsley New Hall:


This is what the entrance looks like today:


Here is a photograph of the bridge over Leigh Road, connecting the New Hall and Old Hall estates. The bridge isn't there anymore: 

When was Worsley New Hall built?

Worsley New Hall was a Victorian mansion, it was built between 1840-1845 and was finally completed in 1846. It was built as the Lancashire seat for the Earls of Ellesmere.

Here are some photographs of Worsley New Hall: 



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