Worsley New Hall Project
Worsley New Hall was built for the 1st Earl of Ellesmere between 1840 and 1845. A Gothic-style mansion with formal landscaped gardens it was described in A Guide to Worsley: Historical and Topographical (1870) as 'comparable with any of the mansions of the nobility in the north of England; it is an ornament to the county in which it stands.'
This project was a joint venture between the University of Salford and Peel Holdings Ltd to research and promote historical sources relating to Worsley New Hall, built in the 1840s as the Lancashire seat for the Earls of Ellesmere. The project took place between March and December 2012. An archaeological excavation of the site ran alongside the project. These pages provide information about the historical sources uncovered during the project.
The New Hall was an Elizabethan Gothic style building designed by the architect Edward Blore (1787-1879). Work began on the foundations for the building in 1839 and in April 1840 the 1st stone was laid. By the time Lord Francis was elevated to the Peerage in 1846 as the 1st Earl of Ellesmere, the building was complete.
The New Hall at Worsley was to replace the Brick Hall, built in the 1760s as the official residence of the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater. This Georgian style building was located north of what is now Leigh Road, and was pulled down between December 1844 and August 1845 as the New Hall neared completion. Leigh Road was subsequently moved north and is now situated over the former site of the Brick Hall.
The New Hall cost just under £100,000 to build - the equivalent of around £6.7 million today - and was one of Blore’s biggest houses. Built from Hollington stone from Staffordshire, it comprised a symmetrical main block, three stories in height with a family wing on one side and a tower and servant wing to the other.
Blore was an established country-house architect and Tudor and Elizabethan styles were his speciality. Most of his clients were drawn from the gentry and peerage, and he had the reputation of completing schemes on time and within budget. When John Nash was dismissed from the remodelling of Buckingham Palace in 1831 owing to his extravagance, Blore was appointed to complete the project in his place.
Blore's contribution to Worsley's architecture went beyond the New Hall. Soon after the Earl of Ellesmere inherited the Worsley Estate in 1833 Blore was commissioned to make alterations to the Old Hall and to design the Garden Cottage, located to the west of the New Hall site. Between 1839 and 1845, Blore also provided the Earl with designs for the Bridgewater Trust Offices in Walkden, St Mark's Church and the Parsonage House at Worsley, schools at Worsley and Walkden Moor and a number of cottages.
The grandeur of the New Hall was matched by its gardens. These were laid out in the early 1840s and developed and enhanced over a period of 50 years.
William Andrews Nesfield (1794-1881) was involved in the development of the gardens from 1846. At the time, Nesfield was the most sought after landscape designer in the country. He first followed a career in the army where he became a skilled map maker and by 1823, had established a good reputation as a watercolour artist. In 1831 Nesfield laid out his first garden and embarked on a third career as a landscape designer. Over a period of 30 thirty years Nesfield worked on over 260 estates for some of the wealthiest and most influential landowners of the day, including Witley Court, Worcestershire; Crewe Hall, Cheshire and Castle Howard in Yorkshire.
The Gardener’s Chronicle described the New Hall and its grounds in 1846:
‘This magnificent residence lies about eight miles west of Manchester. The mansion is beautifully situated on a rising knoll, the gentle acclivity of which the approach imparts to a great degree of dignity. In the east may be seen the wild and lofty blue hills of Derbyshire, whilst the fertile county of Cheshire lies within view on the south. The celebrated Chat Moss lies in this direction formerly covered with impenetrable swamps, but now bearing the impress of civilization. Skirting the declivity of the park may be seen the famous Bridgewater Canal winding along the vale, which is beautifully skirted by rich meadows and woods, the whole forming a picture full of interest.’
Over the following years, the sloping grounds to the south of the Hall were organized into a formal terraced garden. By 1857 there were altogether 6 terraces, separated by stone balustrades and accessed by series of steps and gravel paths. The two upper terraces were designed in Nesfield’s trademark parterre de broderie, intricate patterns based on 17th-century French embroidery designs created using coloured gravels and plantings. Research by Shirley Evans has shown that the parterre on the 2nd terrace was a direct replica of a published design by the French landscape architect Dezallier d'Argenville. At the centre of this terrace was a bronze fountain of a Spanish design by the French company Val d'Osne, and originally exhibited at the Great Exhibition in 1851. Two further fountains were located on the 5th terrace and all three were fed from Blackleach reservoir. According to C A Brooks in Gardens of England (1857), the terraced gardens at the New Hall were ‘one of the most beautiful examples of the kind to be met with in the country’.
Beyond the formal terraced garden was landscaped parkland which extended southwards towards a lake. By 1875 the lake had been enlarged and a grotto constructed on the island, accessed via a footbridge. There was also a croquet lawn and tennis court close by the terraces, and an area of woodland towards the west of the Hall which separated its grounds from the gardener’s cottage and kitchen gardens.
The expense of maintaining elaborate parterres such as those designed by Nesfield led to decline in their popularity, and in the 1870s those at Worsley were modified. After the Great War 1914-18 and the departure of the Egerton family from the Worsley Estate, the gardens fell into decline.
Kitchen Garden, Garden Cottage and Bothy
The kitchen garden was constructed in the early 1840s and were used to provide flowers, fruit and vegetables for the family when in residence at the Hall. Flowers and evergreens from the garden were also given out as Christmas and Easter decorations to local churches, Sunday Schools and workhouses. By the late 19th century the garden was surrounded by a wall which could be heated with flues using the Trentham wall case design to ward off the effects of frost. The garden extended over an area of around 10 acres and had a number of potting sheds and glasshouses used to grow peaches, grapes, melons and cucumbers.
The Garden Cottage was built by the 1st Earl of Ellesmere in 1834 soon after he inherited the Worsley Estate. It was designed by the architect Edward Blore to accommodate the Worsley Hall head gardener. In the later 19th century, the Bothy was built as additional living accommodation for unmarried gardeners whose job was to ensure the boiler in the cellar of the building was constantly fuelled to heat the glasshouses. Unlike the Hall, the Garden Cottage and Bothy are still standing today.
The longest serving gardener at the New Hall was William Upjohn, who occupied the post for over 40 years. Despite retiring in 1914, Upjohn continued to live at the Garden Cottage until his death in 1939. Following Upjohn’s death, the cottage was leased by Bridgewater Estates to a Mr J Whittingham until 1948 when it was sold to Richard and Herbert Cunliffe, who used the building as an office and dwelling for Worsley Hall Nurseries and Garden Centre.
The Earls of Ellesmere welcomed many important visitors to the New Hall at Worsley. Queen Victoria visited the Hall twice, once in 1851 and again in 1857.
The Royal Visit to Worsley in October 1851 was the 1st to the area for 150 years. Arriving by train at Patricroft Station, the Queen and her party travelled to the New Hall via the Bridgewater Canal. In preparation for her arrival, the water in canal was dyed blue and the Earl of Ellesmere commissioned a Royal Barge and built a landing stage on the banks. The Ellesmere Polka was composed by Heinrich Blumer to commemorate the occasion of the Queen's visit.
The Queen was accompanied by the Duke of Wellington, who was a close associate of the Earl. Lady Alice Egerton, the Earl’s daughter recalled the Duke’s arrival:
"I was alarmed to see the Duke struggling up the bank, he being past eighty, and I saw the moment when he would slip into the canal and so I seized hold of his hand and hauled him up. He did not say a word, but when we got up to the top, solemnly shook hands with me, which was funny."
Members of the public watched the procession from certain points along the route. John Jackson recalled to members of his family that ‘Prince Albert looked about as tall as me, very pleasant looking, the Duke not so tall but very stern.’
James Nasmyth, inventor of the steam hammer and based at the Bridgewater Foundry, Patricroft was invited to the Hall to meet the Queen during the first evening of her visit.
The Queen’s 2nd visit to Worsley took place 29 June to 2 July 1857, and coincided with her visit to the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition at Trafford Park.
Her Majesty travelled from the New Hall to the Exhibition by horse and carriage, going through Worsley, Swinton and Pendleton. The Illustrated Times described her reception at Worsley:
As the procession quitted the handsome avenue which leads out upon the Manchester road it was welcomed with inspiring cheers by the spectators, some eleven or twelve hundred of whom were tenants of Her Majesty’s noble host, the Earl of Ellesmere.
The Queen made a ceremonial visit to the Exhibition on the 29 June and gave a speech to the awaiting crowd. On 30 June she made a private visit which according to the Illustrated Times, lasted 4 hours.
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. An English Oak was planted at the same time by Her Royal Highness, Princess Fredericka of Prussia. However in 1875 William Hindsaw, author of Eccles and Worsley: Historical and Descriptive observed that the redwood had failed to prosper:
'The wellingtonia gigantea' wrote Hindshaw, 'haughtily declines to recognise the air of England as equal to that of California, notwithstanding its royal introduction, and presents a shrivelled and attenuated form.'
King Edward VII
Edward VII and Queen Alexandra visited Worsley Hall on 6 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 the Manchester Royal Infirmary on Oxford Road. He then travelled to Worsley by car where the party luncheoned 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.
After the death of the 3rd Earl of Ellesmere in 1914, ownership of the Hall passed to his to his eldest son Lieutenant-Colonel John Francis Granville Scrope Egerton, the 4th Earl. However, the Egerton family was never again to live at the New Hall.
At the outbreak of the Great War, the 4th Earl and his wife lent the New Hall to the British Red Cross Society as an Auxiliary Home Hospital for wounded soldiers. The hospital was fitted out to accommodate up to 132 patients, and 884 patients were treated there in the 1st year alone. 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.
One of the patients treated at the New Hall Hospital was the former editor of the Sporting Chronicle, Colonel Richard Reading. Photographs held in Salford City Archives show Colonel Reading in the Hospital receiving the Chevalier of the Order of Leopold for an act of bravery. Reading served in the Belgian Army and was awarded the medal after he was shot in both legs during a skirmish in Flanders.
Following the end of the War and the closure of the Hospital in 1919, the Egerton family struggled with the financial upkeep of the New Hall and gardens. Hit by heavy death duties, in 1920 the 4th Earl began to break up the Hall and sold items of its furniture and fittings at auction. Furniture and paintings were moved to the Earl's other properties including Mertoun House on the Scottish Borders, Stetchworth Park near Newmarket and Bridgewater House, St James. In April 1921, the Manchester-based auctioneers and valuers CW Provis and Sons were instructed to sell the Hall’s library and surplus furniture 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.
During WW2, 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. Following the departure of the Fusiliers, between 1941 and 1943, the site was used by the 42nd and 45th County of Lancaster Battalions of the Home Guard. Explosives storehouses were constructed in the grounds and the Hall was used for the practice of streetfighting. It was during this period that parts of the Hall grounds and lake were used by local scouts, and became known as Middlewood Scout Camp. In 1944, it was reported that American troops were also stationed at the Hall.
Over the course of the early 20th century, the Hall had fallen into disrepair. The formal gardens had overgrown and the fountain was badly weathered. 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 and the rest of the structure weakened by dry rot and mining subsistence.
In 1944 tenders were put out for the demolition of the New Hall and it was eventually 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. In an agreement between Littler and Bridgewater Estates, the Hall was to be demolished to ground level and the debris used to fill up the basements. By 1949, just over 100 years after it had been built, the Hall was completely demolished. 800 tons of the Hall’s stonework was transported to Yorkshire and used in the construction of council houses in Southfield, Heptonstall.
In 1951 the War Department once again requisitioned a portion of the New Hall site. Where the servant’s wing of the Hall once stood, the Department erected a reinforced concrete bunker and two radar masts for anti-aircraft operations. In 1956 the Department purchased the site of the bunker and from 1958 to the early 1960s, it was used by the Royal Navy as a food store. In 1961, the bunker was sold to Salford Corporation and used as a joint area control centre with Lancashire County Council. After the disbanding of the Civil Defence Corps in 1968 the building was handed over to the Greater Manchester Fire Service and in 1985 leased to a local gun club who used the site as a shooting range.
1st Earl of Ellesmere (1800-1857)
Born Francis Leveson Gower in 1800, the 1st Earl of Ellesmere was the 2nd son of the Duke of Sutherland, and Elizabeth, Countess of Sutherland. Francis was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. In 1822 married Harriet Catherine (1800-1866), grand-daughter of the 3rd Duke of Portland.
Lord Francis entered Parliament in 1822 and held a number of offices, including Chief Secretary for Ireland from 1828 to 1830. He was a liberal conservative and supported the idea of free trade and the founding of the London University. From 1835 to 1846 Lord Francis sat as MP for South Lancashire and in 1846 was elevated to Peerage as Viscount Brackley and Earl of Ellesmere.
Life at Worsley
Lord Francis inherited Worsley in 1833 under the will of his great uncle and godfather the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater. Under the terms of the will he changed his name to Egerton and brought his wife and family to live at Worsley in 1837.
Lord Francis and Lady Harriet developed the Park and the surrounding area. As well as building the New Hall and gardens, Lord Francis commissioned a gardener’s cottage to house his gardener, the Aviary as a shooting and fishing lodge, the Court House and Police Station and added the black and white finish to the Packet House.
Worsley in the 19th century was heavily industrialised based on cotton manufacture, iron and brick making and coal mining and Lord and Lady Ellesmere involved themselves in improving conditions for the local working population. They built and endowed St Marks Church in Worsley and St Pauls in Walkden with their associated schools. In 1845 Lady Ellesmere began a Domestic Servants School and in 1848 Lord Ellesmere established a medical dispensary and Reading Room. They also funded a recreation ground, later St Mary’s Park for colliers and their families. Lord Ellesmere banned the employment of women and children underground in his mines and introduced night-school classes for his workers on the estate and a non-contributory pension scheme.
The 1st Earl was interested in art. In 1835 and 1836 he spent over £3,000 on books and paintings. His art collection at Worsley Hall included Edward Landseer’s Return from Hawking which gave the likeness of the 1st Earl of Ellesmere and his family.
The 1st Earl was well-travelled and visited places in the East, Mediterranean and Holy Land. He provided the illustrations for his wife’s Journal of a Tour to the Holy Land (1841). Lord Francis also published his own poetry and journalism as well as translations of French and Germans plays, romances and histories.
Lord Ellesmere died at Bridgewater House in London on 18 February 1857 and was buried in St Mark’s Church, Worsley. He was succeeded by his son He was survived by five sons and two daughters.
2nd Earl of Ellesmere (1823-1862)
George Granville Francis Egerton, eldest son of the 1st Earl was only to hold the title of Earl of Ellesmere for 5 years before his death in 1862.
Born in 1823, George Granville educated at Christ Church, Oxford and Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1846 he married Lady Mary Campbell, 4th and youngest daughter of the 1st Earl Cawdor and assumed the title of Viscount Brackley. In 1847 he became MP for North Staffordshire and held the seat until 1851. Although a Liberal Conservative in politics, he was a follower of Free Trade. He retired from politics in 1851 on the grounds of ill health.
In 1857 George Egerton inherited his father’s titles and was appointed Lieutenant Colonel Commandant of the Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry Militia. He died suddenly at the age of 40, whilst visiting Mr John and Lady Georgina Balfour Balbernie, Scotland. He was known as a generous benefactor to the families on his estates and gave financial support to those affected by the Cotton Famine. He was survived by his two sons, Francis Charles Granville (1847–1914), later 4th Earl of Ellesmere and Alfred John Francis (1854–1890), who served as MP for Eccles.
3rd Earl of Ellesmere (1847-1914)
Francis Charles Granville Egerton became the 3rd Earl of Ellesmere in 1862 at the age of 15. In 1903, the Trust established by the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater 100 years earlier to administer the Worsley Estate and collieries expired, and the assets reverted to the 3rd Earl as the sole owner. In order to administer his estates which included Worsley, Brackley in Northamptonshire and Stetchworth Park near Newmarket, the Earl created a new Trust. Henry Hart Davis, a retired army captain and family friend was appointed Chief Agent.
Life at Worsley
The 3rd Earl and his family only spent part of their time at Worsley New Hall, usually between July and September. However, the family continued to improve the Estate where possible. In 1903 electricity was used to illuminate the main carriageway and in 1908 it was installed in the house.
The 3rd Earl maintained the Egerton family reputation as local benefactors and gave St Mark’s Church - built by his grandfather the 1st Earl - land to extend its crowded churchyard and money to improve the interior. The visits of the family were regarded as local events and photographs from Salford Local History Library show an archway erected specially for the coming of the Earl and his wife.
The 3rd Earl took a keen interest in sport. He donated the Earl of Ellesmere Cup which became one of the most competitive tournaments at Worsley Golf Club. He was reputed to have occasionally played with the village cricket team on Saturday afternoons and preside over the Worsley cricket festival.
The Earl enjoyed shooting and held an annual three day shoot at the Worsley Estate. Visitors to the pleasure grounds at Worsley were warned to stick to the paths and driveways so as not to disturb the game. He also had a special passion for horse racing and whilst at Worsley New Hall, enjoyed a game of billiards.
4th Earl of Ellesmere (1872-1944)
John Francis Granville Scrope Egerton was born at Bridgewater House, London in 1872 and was the eldest son of the 3rd Earl and his wife, Katherine. He was educated at Eton.
John Egerton served in the South African War as a captain in the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion of the Royal Scots and as aide-de-camp to Major General Sir William George Knox, who commanded the 23rd Bridge of the South African Field Force. During the First World War he served as lieutenant-colonel of the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Scots and was mentioned in dispatches
On 28 October 1905, John Egerton married Lady Violet Lambton, the eldest daughter of the 4th Earl of Durham. They had seven children. In 1912 he acquired Mertoun House, St Boswells near the Scottish Borders, which would later become the home of the Dukes of Sutherland. At the outbreak of War in 1914, John Francis and his wife, Lady Violet offered Worsley New Hall to the British Red Cross to be used as a hospital for wounded soldiers. The family never again lived at the Hall.
Like his father before him, the 4th Earl was a keen sportsman. In his younger days he was reputed to be a good cricketer and in 1904-1905 he took a side to the West Indies. He became president of Marylebone Cricket Club in 1920.
The 4th Earl was also known for his interest in horse-racing and bred a number of winners, many on his Stetchworth Stud, near Newmarket. He was a member of the Jockey Club and was at one time Senior Steward. In 1928 he became a member of the Racecourse Betting Control Board.
Sale of Worsley
John Egerton succeeded his father as the 4th Earl of Ellesmere in 1914, inheriting country estates at Brackley in Northamptonshire and in Berwickshire, and industrial estates in Lancashire and Cheshire with collieries, coke works and wharves. However he was left with the task of paying off the enormous death duties that were assessed on his inheritance. In 1915 he sold the Brackley estates and the Lancashire and Cheshire Estates, with their collieries, coke works, wharves and the New Hall in 1923 to Bridgewater Estates Ltd.
The 4th Earl died at Mertoun at the age of 71 and was succeeded by his only son, John Sutherland (1915-2000), who was at the time in a German prisoner of war camp. In 1963, John Sutherland became 6th Duke of Sutherland.
Worsley Old Hall is built (probably earlier in the century) as the main homestead for the Worsley Estate.
1748 The 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, Sir Francis Egerton (1736-1803) inherits the Worsley Estate
1800 Francis Leveson-Gower, later Lord Francis Egerton 1st Earl of Ellesmere, is born
1803 The 3rd Duke of Bridgewater dies and control of the Worsley Estate and Bridgewater Canal passes to a Trust
1833 Francis Leveson-Gower assumes the name of Egerton and inherits the Worsley Estate
1834 Improvements are made to the Old Hall and the Gardener's Cottage is built to accommodate the Worsley Hall gardener
1837 Sir Francis Egerton and his wife Harriet come to live at Worsley
1839 Work begins on the New Hall
1840s The Brick Hall is demolished; offices for the Bridgewater Trust are designed and built at Walkden; the Kitchen Gardens are constructed and the landscape architect William Andrews Nesfield begins his work on terraces and parkland
1846 The construction of the New Hall is completed and Sir Francis Egerton is elevated to the Peerage as Viscount Brackley and Earl of Ellesmere
1850 Entrance gates to the New Hall are built
1853 Queen Victoria tours Lancashire and stays at the New Hall along with the Duke of Wellington
1857 Queen Victoria attends the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition and stays at the New Hall. Lord Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere dies.
1860s William Barber Upjohn is employed as head gardener at the New Hall and comes to live at the Gardener's Cottage
1862 The 2nd Earl of Ellesmere, George Granville Egerton dies.
1903 The Bridgewater Trust is wound up and the assets revert to Lord Ellesmere
1908 Electricity is installed at the New Hall
1909 King Edward VII opens the Royal Infirmary on Oxford Road, Manchester and attends the Worsley Review held in the grounds of the New Hall
1914 The 3rd Earl of Ellesmere, Francis Charles Egerton dies. The 4th Earl, John Francis Egerton lends the New Hall to the British Red Cross Society as a hospital for injured soldiers for the duration of the War
1920 The 4th Earl begins to dismantle the New Hall and sell the furniture
1923 The Worsley Estate is sold to Bridgewater Estates Ltd for £3,300,000
1939 William Barber Upjohn, former head gardener at the New Hall dies and the Gardener's Cottage is let
1940 The Lancashire Fusiliers and 45th County of Lancaster Home Guard occupy the New Hall and grounds as a training camp
1943 Fire damages the upper floors and roof in the central section of the New Hall and the building is sold to Mr Littler for demolition
1945 Work begins on the demolition of the Hall and the bridge over Leigh Road is taken down. Land is leased to the Boy Scout Association and Middlewood Scout Camp is developed
1948 Bricks from the New Hall are sold to Hepton Urban District Council and used to build houses on the Southfield Estate, Heptonstall, West Yorkshire
1951 The War Department requisition land on the former site of the New Hall and build a reinforced concrete bunker
The Centre for Applied Archaeology (CfAA) at the University of Salford has been commissioned by Peel Investments (North) Ltd, to carry out an archaeological survey of the Worsley New Hall site.
This has been divided into 3 phases:
Phase 1, a desk-based assessment and individual archaeological building surveys of all the structures still standing on the site was carried out in 2011. You can read their findings in the following reports:
- Desk-Based Assessment of Worsley New Hall
- Gates, Grotto and Ice House
- Garden Cottage
- Kitchen Garden
- Cold War Bunker
Phase 2, was an archaeological evaluation which took place in October 2011 to find out how much of the Hall was preserved below ground level. It revealed that rooms and chambers in the basement of the Hall remained almost fully intact. View a plan of the excavated site.
Phase 3, was a community-based excavation of the New Hall remains. In May and June 2012, local schools and community groups were invited to come and take part in the excavation of the site.
Hear more about how the excavation was carried out and people's experiences:
The Worsley New Hall Open Weekend which took place on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 June was an opportunity for the public to view the excavated site.
Access was free, and tours of the site ran every 30 minutes. There was also an exhibition of archives and artefacts in the New Hall Garden Centre Tea Room.
Finding digitised records
Archives and records relating to the history of the New Hall can be found in repositories across the UK. You can find out more about the contents of these records here. To view examples of digitized records visit the Worsley New Hall Collection in the Salford University Archive Repository
British Red Cross Museum and Archives
Holds one minute book relating to Worsley Hall Hospital: East Lancashire Branch General Purposes Committee Minute Book, 6 October 1914 -13 June 1918
These minutes provide information about the running and maintenance of the Hospital; patient admissions and discharges; illnesses and deaths; staffing and finance accounts. The minutes also include lists of voluntary officials and their positions; rules and meal times.
Cambridge University Library
The Department of Manuscripts and Archives holds papers and letters relating to the architect Edward Blore and the building of the New Hall:
Abstracts from clerks of work’s returns regarding building work at various sites 1841-1848. Details for Worsley Hall can be found on pp. 1; 26; 46; 60; 74. The volume also provides information on the parsonage and infants school in Worsley; Walkden Moor School and the Bridgewater Trust Offices. MS Add 3951
Private Accounts 1826-1850. Details expenses for travelling to and from Worsley to inspect the works and to draw up plans for the lodge houses. MS Add. 3955
Private Accounts 1826-1841. Includes expenses for travelling to and from Worsley to inspect the works and drawing up plans for lodges houses. MS Add. 3956
Letter to Edward Blore from Lord Francis, Earl of Ellesmere 22 December 1859. Regarding the new drawings of the addition to Worsley Hall received by Lady Ellesmere and whether any of the suggestions made in a previous letter met Blore’s approbation. MS Add 8170/39
Chetham's Library, Manchester
Ernest Bosdin Leech R.A.M.C, War Diary, Letters and Notes: Book 1
Contains photographs and correspondence relating to Worsley Hall Hospital. Leech was a consulting Physician at the MRI and was also President of the Manchester Medical Society. He volunteered as a medical officer at Worsley Hospital in 1914 until February 1915.
Mullineux Photographic Archive
Includes images relating to the New Hall. Various dates.
E LIV Bridgewater Canal, Worsley: Brick Hall; Royal barge and boathouse; Queen Victoria’s Landing Stage.
E LXIX Egerton Family Earls of Ellesmere: Royal barge; Countess of Ellesmere Lord and Lady Normanby; 2nd Earl of Ellesmere, Lord and Lady Brackley.
E LXX Worsley People: Mr Upjohn, Lord Ellesmere’s gardener.
E LXXI Worsley Pageant.
E LXXVIII Worsley Miscellaneous: Leigh Road and Worsley New Hall.
E LXXV Worsley Brick Hall and Worsley New Hall, c. 1900-1968: views of the New Hall from the South, North East and West; lake; bridge to the island in the lake; demolition of the New Hall; fountain; ice house; driveway; New Hall Gardens; New Hall gate house; head gardener's house; old and new Bothy; boiler house; steam boiler.
E LXVIII Royal Visits to Worsley, c. 1909: Queen Victoria's landing stage; King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra at Worsley Hall.
Digital copies also available at Salford Local History Library
Holds some of Lord Francis Egerton's correspondence, mainly regarding Chartism, but with references to Worsley; a photocopy of a large scale ‘Plan of the Estates in 1840’; papers relating to Queen Victoria’s visit in 1851 and letters from Thomas Hope Floyd, who was a patient at Worsley Hall Hospital in 1917.
Lord Francis Egerton's Correspondence:
Lady Harriet Egerton to James Lock c. 1839 regarding Hatchford and Lord Francis’ illness. Lady Harriet expresses regret that they will not be able to spend the summer at Worsley and gives other family news. DP/378/3
Lord Francis Egerton of Worsley to James Lock of London 3 May 1839 regarding Chartist agitation in Manchester. Egerton asks, 'would it be possible to take any precautions for placing the books and other documents at the Worsley Office for security, I care little about the house.’ DP/378/4
Lord Francis Egerton of Worsley to James Lock of London 18 August 1839 refers to the levelling in of an unidentified greenhouse. DP/378/10
Lord Francis Egerton of Worsley to James Lock of London 22 August 1839 regarding his visit to the Pemberton property and his service on the Grand Jury. Lord Francis also refers to work on the greenhouse and plantings and a suicide, but does not give specific details. DP/378/11
Lord Francis Egerton of Worsley to James Lock of London 29 August 1839 regarding to the purchase of arms against future Chartist riots and refers to Edward Blore’s 'admirable plans'. DP/378/12
Papers relating to the Queen’s visit to Worsley 1851. This bundle includes a tracing paper map showing the canal through Worsley and number points; lists of person’s requiring tickets and of special constables appointed, with correspondence. NCBw/19/5
Hospital, Worsley Hall and Eaton Hall, and Yorkshire 5th Regiment of the Lancashire Fusiliers
Letters dated 3, 6, 11, 12 August 1917 written by Thomas Hope Floyd to his parents from Worsley Hall Hospital. Floyd was a patient at the Hospital following the 3rd Battle of Ypres. His letters include an account of the battle and his arrival at Worsley Hall ‘the splendid mansion of the Egertons of Ellesmere’. View extracts from one of Floyd's letters. DDFL/3/6
Liverpool Record Office
Holds some correspondences with Lord Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere but not directly relating to the New Hall:
Egerton Ellesmere, Worsley, Manchester to Rev Alfred J Tomlin of St Michaels Church, Liverpool 20 September 1851 regarding societies for the provision of additional curates. 920 TOM/512/1
Lord Francis, Earl of Ellesmere to Lord Derby. 5 letters dating from 1845 to 1852 regarding the country’s defence against foreign aggression; Lord Brackley and the tomb of the Duke of Wellington. 920 DER (14) 140/4/1-5
St Mark's Church, Worsley (L118) built by Sir Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere between 1844 and 1846, around the same time as the New Hall. It was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott (1811-1878) and contains the tomb of the 1st Earl. The collection includes Baptism registers, Marriage registers, Church Magazines, Churchwarden and Vestry records dating from 1846-1972.
The Royal Manchester Institution (M6) collection contains various correspondence with Sir Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere regarding the loan of items from his collection for various exhibitions. View a detailed list of records
C. W. Provis and Sons., of Manchester, auctioneers and valuers (M106) contains two boxes 25-26 of annotated sales particulars and correspondence relating to the Earl of Ellesmere’s estates, dating 1914-1921. C. W. Provis were responsible for the auction of furniture and books from Worsley New Hall. However, this collection does not contain items relating to the New Hall.
The Local Studies Collection also holds some newspaper cuttings relating to the New Hall from the Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener. See the Green Box Newspaper Cuttings Collection: A-Z Halls, Box 92
Northamptonshire Record Office
Holds correspondence of Sir Francis Egerton, 1st earl of Ellesmere from 1837 to 1856 as part of the Ellesmere (Brackley) Collection, E(B). The Brackley Estate in Northamptonshire was granted to the Egerton family in the 16th century, and Sir Francis inherited it along with the Lancashire and Cheshire estates of the Duke of Bridgewater in 1833. Sir Francis was granted the subsidiary title of Viscount Blackley at the same time that he was elevated to the Peerage and Earl of Ellesmere in 1846.
The Ellesmere (Brackley) Collection contains some records relating to Worsley and the Bridgewater Canal, but the bulk of the material is dated before the 19th century and there are no records relating directly to the New Hall itself.
However, the collection does contain bundles of Lord Francis’s correspondence written during the period when the New Hall was being designed and built:
E(B) 1496 Letters regarding the administration and management of the Bridgewater estates. Includes E(B) 1496/19 from James Sothern to Lord Francis stating when he intends to leave Worsley Hall (in this case the Brick Hall).
E(B) 1497, 1498 and 1500 are bundles of correspondence from churches, charities, literary institutions and schools and begging letters from individuals.
RIBA Drawings and Archives Collection
The Collections contain over 400 of Edward Blore’s plans for Worsley New Hall along with his Account Books.
Working drawings for Worsley Hall, Lancashire, as well as Parsonage House, Schools and Cottages, and "Bridgewater Trust Offices", by Edward Blore ca. 1840-1846
Vol. 26 and Vol. 35 contain over 400 drawings. You can view the complete list here.
Building Accounts kept by Edward Blore, 1839-1846
BlE/1/1 and BlE/2/2 contain detailed accounts of expenditure for the building of Worlsey Hall.
BlE/3 'Abstract for the receipts and expenditure by Mr Blore on account of Worsley New Hall in the years 1840 and 1841'. Dated June 1842.
Find out more about the RIBA Drawings and Archive Collection
The Royal Archives
Holds 2 correspondences relating to the New Hall:
Letter from Queen Victoria to Harriet Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, Duchess of Sutherland refers to Queen Victoria’s visit to Worsley in 1851, Lord Ellesmere’s character and Lord Brackley’s health. VIC/ADD A24/303
Letter from Lord Escher to Sir Francis Knollys regarding the 1909 Review at Worsley and the ‘“military spirit” of the nation’. VIC/MAIN/W141/93
Details about how to access The Royal Archives can be found here.
Salford City Archives and Local History Library
BW Bridgewater Estates Collection. These papers are part of the estate records of the Lancashire and Cheshire Estates of the Duke of Bridgewater, Earls of Ellesmere and Bridgewater Estates Ltd from the 1720s to the 1980s.
The full catalogue is available on Access to Archives (A2A). The items listed here relate directly to Worsley New Hall:
Minute Books of decision minutes from Directors Meetings (1923-1975) contain references to the New Hall and its demolition; tenancies of the Bothy, Worsley New Hall Gardens and lodges; damage by mining operations; Worsley New Hall Stables; lease by the Boys Scout Association and plans for a new hotel. BW/A/1/2-10
Staff Lists (1900-1920), relate to staff employed on the Earl of Ellesmere’s Lancashire and Cheshire Estates and Collieries and include the roles of head gardener, house carpenter and head gamekeeper at Worsley Hall. BW/A/5/1-16
Records relating to the buying and selling of property. Notes on The Wardley and Worsley Estate undated [1908?] refers an agreement 21 February 1861 with the London and North Western Railway Company regarding supply of water to Worsley Hall from Blackleach and other reservoirs. BW/A/7/1/13
Register containing details of sale of land, hereditaments etc. 20th cent. Contains information regarding the sale of land in Worsley New Hall grounds to the War Department 1956. BW/A/7/2/51
Papers relating to the valuation of Worsley Hall (1920-1921). 2 bundles of detailed handwritten and typed notes surveying the contents of the building. Includes details regarding materials and fittings; servant’s quarters; roof timber; slating; structural valuation; and a room-by-room inventory of the Hall interior. BW/A/7/3/19
Household records consists of six items containing inventories of the furniture, goods and linen in Worsley Hall (1796-1823). These items relate to the Brick Hall. BW/A/11/1-5
The Mullineux Collection U332 contains ephemera, newspaper cuttings and other records relating to the New Hall, collected by local historians Frank and Elsie Mullineux.
View selected items from the collection:
U332/Z237 Invitation from the Earl of Ellesmere and his wife to Mr and Mrs Westbrook, 12 Walkden Road, Walkden, for an outdoor fete at the Hall, 28 August 1886
U332/Z276 C. W. Provis and Sons Auctioneers catalogue Worsley New Hall, Worsley, ‘Catalogue of the remaining portion of the contents’, April 1921.
U332/Z715 Cover sheet of ‘The Ellesmere Polka’, composed by Heinrich Blumer for Queen Victoria’s visit 1851.
U332/Z742 Souvenir pamphlet for King Edward VII’s Review at Worsley 1909.
U332\Z795-99 The Worsley Wail (Being the Unofficial Chronicle of the Worsley Red Cross Hospital, Lancashire), vol. 1-4, September-October 1916. Visit Resources to view PDFs of all 4 issues.
U332\M64 Printed plan, prepared in connection with Queen Victoria’s visit, showing the Bridgewater Canal from Patricroft to Worsley, 1851. Sheet 3 shows the location of the landing stage in relation to the New Hall and Bridgewater Hotel.
Staffordshire Record Office
Holds the Records of the Sutherland-Leveson-Gower family, Dukes of Sutherland, Earls Gower, etc. (the Sutherland Papers), including other records of the Trentham Estate. Lord Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere was the second son of George Leveson-Gower, 1st Duke of Sutherland.
Records relating to Worsley New Hall are:
Yearly statements of receipts and payments made on account of the Duke of Sutherland by Drummonds and Childs, 1834-1842. Provides details for living expenditure for Sir Francis Egerton's house at Worsley, either the Old or Brick Hall. It also details the expenses paid to Edward Blore for work on the New Hall from 1839-1842. D593/N/1/2/1/3
A small number of Letters from Francis, 1st Earl of Ellesmere to his brother George, 2nd Duke of Sutherland refer directly to Worsley New Hall:
Worsley, 15 June 1845 Regarding Lord Francis’s establishment in the new house at Worsley, comments on the interior workmanship, the servant’s bells, windows and armorial bearings on the exterior. Notes that ‘there are divers faults of interior from which the next house I build in the country will be exempt, but they are in general as much mine as of the architect.’ D593/P/22/1/5
Worsley, 25 December 1845 Sir Francis suggests to his brother than he should ‘drop into’ the New Hall on his way south. He mentions that ‘the terraces and kitchen gardens, however wet the country at large, afford a dry quarter deck to walk out. The house is warm and coals cheap. Trentham and Lilleshall at a stone’s throw. Ask the Duke of Devonshire if it is not all fine. He has taken to the place mightily.’
February 1850 Mentions that the half the chimneys have been blown down during the recent gales.
University of Salford Archives and Special Collections
BEA Bridgewater Estates Archive contains a large collection of correspondence relating to the administration of Bridgewater Estates in the late 19th and 20th century. Information and records relating to the New Hall can be found within the following themes:
Worsley New Hall Correspondence dating from 1898 to 1959 regarding applications to visit the New Hall grounds and gardens; requests for flowers, Christmas trees and evergreens from the New Hall Gardens; instillation and maintenance of electric lighting and lift; billiards equipment; art collection; inspection, sale and removal of furniture; maintenance and repairs to the Hall, grounds, gates, lodges and garden buildings; drainage and water supply from Blackleach reservoir; fetes and garden parties; Worsley Hall Hospital; trespassers and the theft of garden produce; tenancies of the lodges and Market Gardens, Bothy and Garden Cottage; garden and nursery staff; 2/8th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers; 42nd and 45th Battalion of the Home Guard; bridge over Leigh Road; fire at Worsley New Hall and Fire Loss Claim; sale and demolition of the Hall; requisitioning of land and property by the War Office and compensation claims; Middlewood as a Scout camp; Reinforced Concrete Building (bunker).
These records can be found in:
Employment Correspondence dating from 1904-1911 regarding employment: Thomas Mitchell, former gardener; vacancy for the ‘deaf and dumb’ boy Hodgkinson in the gardens; John Bradshaw and Mary Bowley of Worsley Hall; Albert Green, gardener; Robert, 2nd Keeper at Worsley Hall; Gerald Askew foreman at the New Hall Gardens and W. B. Upjohn, head gardener. BEA/I/7
Situations and testimonials Correspondence dating from 1912-1913 and 1817-1918 regarding the employment of Gerald D Askew, foreman at Worsley Hall Gardens; Mary S Jones Dairymaid at Worsley Hall; Hilda Martin vacancy at Worsley Hall as gardener. BEA/II/A7
Insurance and Investments – Lord Ellesmere’s Property Correspondence regarding the insurance policy for Worsley Hall, including a valuation of furniture. BEA/II/A130
The full catalogue is available on the University of Salford Archive and Special Collections web pages.
USIR Archive Ref: WNH Oral History 1
Born: 15 November 1931
Date recorded: 10 May 2012
Location: Walkden Gateway
Summary: Joy’s connections to Worsley New Hall go back to the 1880s, when her ancestors came to work in the pits and in service in the local area. She recalls visiting the Hall during WW2 whilst attending elocution lessons at the Lodge, given by Anne Martins (nee Alcock). After the war, Joy worked as a junior shorthand typist preparing documents about the anti-aircraft guns in Middlewood. Her sons also spent time in Middlewood as members of the Scouts.
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USIR Archive Ref: WNH Oral History 2
Born: 19 May 1933
Date recorded: 25 June 2012
Location: Worsley Library
Summary: Arthur played in the Hall grounds as a young boy. He was a relation of Ted Marsh, a resident of one of the lodge houses during WW2. Arthur recalls American troops being stationed at the Hall and went inside the building after they had left. He also remembers crossing over Leigh Road Bridge and dropping blackberries on the trolley buses which passed underneath.
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USIR Archive Ref: WNH Oral History 3
Born: 4 December 1921
Date recorded: 26 June 2012
Location: Her home
Summary: Born Ruth Roscoe, the granddaughter of William Barber Upjohn, long-term Head Gardener at the New Hall gardens. At the age of 6, Ruth, her parents and her brother went to live with her grandparents at the Gardener’s Cottage. She recalls riding her bicycle through the grounds and playing and skating on the lake. Ruth recalls how her grandfather came from Scotland to work at the New Hall. She remembers riding with Lady Rochdale in her chauffeur driven car on the day of her confirmation. Ruth mentions Dick Edge, the Odd Man; collecting post from the fire-engine house and her grandfather’s taste for burnt food. She also recalls her ‘Aunty Meelo’ who lived in the Bothy, and the family’s departure from the Gardener’s Cottage following the death of her grandfather.
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Anne Martins and Herbert Kidd
USIR Archive Ref: WNH Oral History 4
Born: Anne 23 July 1922; Bert 6 January 1930.
Date recorded: 3 July 2012
Location: Anne Martins’ home
Summary: Anne Martins, born Alcock lived at the Bothy with her parents who ran the market garden during WW2. She helped out in the gardens Herbert Kidd ('Bert') was a gardener during the same period and came to work in the gardens in 1943. He met Anne when she was teaching at a local school. At the request of the headmaster Anne found Bert employment with her father at the gardens. Both Anne and Bert describe the gardens during the 1940s. They mention some of the fruit, vegetables, plants and flowers that were grown and the water from Blackleach reservoir. They recall fishing, swimming and skating on the lake and the frames and brackets used for planting flowers on the terrace beds. Bert remembers climbing up the chimney in the Bothy and Annie recalls some of the jobs she did with the land girl.
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USIR Archive Ref: WNH Oral History 5
Date recorded: 4 July 2012
Location: His home
Summary: Terence was stationed at the bunker when undertaking National Service. Although he lived in the Worsley area, he had initially been unaware of the existence of the building. He describes the interior of the structure and his role in carrying out various tests and checks of the equipment.
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USIR Archive Ref: WNH Oral History 6
Date recorded: 3 August 2012
Location: University of Salford
Summary: Glen grew up in the Worsley and Walkden area and recalls Middlewood as his playground. Glen was a member of Middlewood Scout Camp. He remembers the development of the site from the 1950s to the 1980s. He describes the boundaries of the camp, the terraces, the lake and caves and how they were used in scouting activities. Glen remembers riding motorbikes and holding barbeques on the frozen lake during cold winters and how the draining of the lake the 1980s revealed bottles and a boat on the lake bed. Glen describes the complex drainage system on the New Hall site and mentions the icehouse, bunker and radar instillation. He describes how the old stone balustrading was used by the Scouts to construct a chapel and talks about the variety of tree and plants species in the area.
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On to something a little more pleasant, the year 1909 King Edward and Queen Alexandra came on a visit to Worsley New Hall. My father took me by tram from Swinton, the trams had only been running three years. We went on some stands erected for the occasion & saw the royal couple ride by in their carriage drawn by four horses that was behind the Bridgewater Hotel the motorway now runs over that field.
A E Loder 'Ted' (1903-1995) was a brickmaker employed by Bridgewater Estates
Pages 26 - 29:
The summer of 1928 was one of the most wonderful I ever spent. The start of this was rather remarkable. Along with another man I was sent to Worsley. The order being to clear the generating station which had been built to generate electricity for Worsley Old Hall. This was a wonderful building, what year it was built I never found out. We took out motion switchboards generators and a large girder which was used for lifting & ran the full length of the building. The plan was to convert it to a bungalow & this is what they did. The extension has not be altered in any way apart from the entrance doors which were very stout wooden doors now glass. While working at the generating station I had to go over to the New Hall to see Mr Edge the care taker who lived alone in a room in the Hall. He told me that he had been the head butler to the Ellesmere family & was allowed to live in his old butler’s room as compensation for his long & loyal services. Although so many years apart in age we seemed to form a very warm friendship. Most Saturday evenings I would go down to his room & talk over the or mostly listen to his life in this wonderful hall. Some evenings we would go down to the lake at the far end of grounds. It was a very large lake with an island in the centre, you could go over to the island over a rustic hump back bridge & on the island was a lovely summer house. Many times we sat in the summer house & I never tired of listening to his account of life in those days. His room contained bed table & two chairs, & in one corner was his shot gun, the grounds were full of game, & many times he would have a couple of rabbits or a pheasant hung up ready for tomorrows dinner. Sometimes we would have a tour of the Hall. A horse & cart could have travelled along the main corridors below as they were so wide. The kitchen was the largest I have ever seen & the fire place had to be seen to be believed. Each side of the corridor below ground the rooms were all marked off tea & sugar, flour, game & poultry, ham & bacon, eggs & cheese. Coming up on the ground floor the library, the dance floor entertaining rooms the more you travelled around the more breath taking it was. And my friend was a master at describing how these rooms were furnished & the terrific parties that took place. To name some of the people who stayed at this great hall, Queen Victoria & Prince Albert, King Edward VII & Queen Alexandra, the Crown Prince of Germany & the Duke of Wellington & many titled people from all parts of the country. The grounds were beautiful you seemed to be in another world in these grounds.
The ex butlers father was the foreman stonemason when the Hall was built in 1846 & his pay was 17/- per week. The staff were drawn from around Worsley & the pay for a girl was 4/- per week & her food but as my friend often said that which was left over from there great parties fed the staff. He would always go down to the Bridgewater Hotel for a few drinks & many times return to his room, until midnight or even later. He described Queen Victoria as a very hard woman, the staff being very reluctant to come into contact with her. King Edward he said was a real boy, drink and women came before anything else. When younger I had been told many times by older people that King Edward was ordered away from the New Hall by Lord Ellesmere, so now came the chance to ask a person who was there, if this was true.
He said this was true, Lady Ellesmere was concerned in an incident with the King & Lord Ellesmere ordered him away. This he said was the “death” of Worsley. This incident happened in 1909 when King Edward & Queen Alexandra came to Worsley to a military review which was held behind the Bridgewater Hotel. This same period that I had met Mr Edge I was working with a man who had moved into the lodge at the Old Hall & he held the key for this building, at this time it was not occupied so we had a wonderful time going all through at our leisure. It is no doubt a wonderful building & well worth a visit. The grounds bear no comparison with those days, they were just a mass of flowers. From the Old Hall you could cross over Leigh Road by a bridge into the New Hall. I have crossed the bridge many times, this was pulled down some years ago but you can still see the butments of the bridge on each side of the road. In crossing the bridge you came down a flight of steps opposite the New Hall entrance. Mr Edge had the room on the right hand side of the entrance, his window just coming above ground level, this was so that he could see any carriage pulling up & could be up a short flight of stairs & into the Hall to receive any visitors. The Hall was a wonderful building in every way, the stonework was perfection in every way nothing had been spared, the interior was like a dream more so than Mr Edge could paint such a wonderful picture of those days. In the wine cellar he would describe wines & which kind & year for a certain function. He would even describe each item on the menu & go though the task of serving food & wine just as if the guests were sat at the table.