Mansions of Wallasey

Around Grove Road

Rose Bank

This house, which prior to the erection of the flats now occupying the site, stood at the corner of Sea Road and Grove Road. It appears to have begun life about 1867, when it was in the occupation of Richard Lowndes, an Average Adjuster and a well-to-do-man, whose second wife, Anne Stewart Byrth, was a daughter of Dr. Byrth, a former Rector of Wallasey. About five years prior to his death, which occurred at Hastings in 1888, he had been succeeded at 'Rose Bank' by Arthur Dempsey, a Timber Merchant, whose family was well-known in the district, but who by 1893 had moved out to Noctorum and, finally, to Meols, where he died in 1907, at the age of 90.

The next occupant was the German Consul, Mr L.F Bahr, a Cotton and General Merchant in business in Liverpool, but by 1900 Dr John Oldershaw had made his appearance there. He renamed the property 'Rolleston House', a name he took with him when he moved to Victoria Road, New Brighton, in 1905. The purchaser of the house was Mr William Taylor, a proprietor of the English Leather Company, who at one time lived at 'Grove Cottage', the grounds of which were later to become the site of the Grove Hotel, at the corner of Grove Road and Wallasey Village. In 1910, Mr Taylor divided the house into two residences, retaining the name 'Rolleston House' for his own portion adjacent to Sea Road, the other part reverting to its original name of 'Rose Bank'. It was in this section that Miss Vyner lived while she conducted Wallasey Grange School, but in subsequent years both portions changed hands on several occasions, until the developers moved in.

Wallasey Grange
(Formerly 'Verulam Lodge')

Most Wallasey residents will have no difficulty in identifying this property. Built in 1861/62 for a Major James Walter, a shipowner, who gave it the name of 'Verulam Lodge', as he claimed relationship with the Earls of Verulam. Major Walter who had been described by one of his descendants as living in a world of "make-up and dreams", not always adhering to the truth and being a complete snob, was a partner in Wilson, Son & Walter, Managers of the Cork Steam Packet Company. He married his partner's daughter as his first wife, and by her had two sons and a daughter. Marrying again, he became the father of another son and another daughter and strangely enough all three sons went to Japan in the 1870's, the journey, by sail, taking approximately six months. They founded businesses there, and it is said that they became the first white settlers in Yokohama. The younger daughter married the Revd. S.G. Joel, at one time Chaplain to the Ferries and later a master at Clare Mount School prior to taking up an appointment at Oundle School.

Major Walter initiated the construction of his new home by purchasing 8,000 square yards of land in 1860 from the Executors of John S. Davies, deceased, late of 'Hose Side Farm', at a cost of £500. By January, 1862 'Verulam Lodge' had been built, and was promptly mortgaged to a Mr William Culshaw for a loan of £2,100. The following year Culshaw transferred the mortgage to Robinson Duckworth and Richard Battersby at an increased figure of £2,400, the extra £300 going to the Major. In 1867, Major Walter purchased 17,481 square yards of land from Charles Holland, of Liscard Vale, for £1,340, thereby extending the property to Jockey Lane, and in 1872 borrowed £8,000 from Major Chambres on the security of a second mortgage on the whole property. Five years later the first mortgage of £2,400 was transferred to Major Chambres, and in 1879 Major Walter, whose finances had been steadily deteriorating, declared himself to be quite unable to repay the mortgage, and Major Chambres accordingly assumed possession of the property, this presumably deciding him to move from 'The Mosslands'.

Major Walter forsook shipping, left Wallasey, and became Manager of the old London, Chatham and Dover Railway, finally retiring to Richmond and dying at the turn of the century. Apart from what had already been said, he wrote three books and there seems to be little doubt that he founded the Volunteer Movement (later the Territorial's) in the North of England in the 1850's. It is to be feared that he was not too popular with local cricketers, as it is on record that when Wallasey Cricket Club played on Flynn's Piece, at the bottom of Claremount Road, Major Walter was of the opinion that the right of the Wallasey Villagers to dig clay there was being interfered with, and one night he sent men with spades to dig holes in the pitch. As Mr James Harrison, of 'The Laund', had recently paid for the land to be leveled for the Club's use, it is very probable that something in the nature of a shipping war developed.

Major Chambres, while on his capacity as Deputy Lieutenant of Denbighshire also had a house at St. Asaph, renamed 'Verulam Lodge' as 'Wallasey Grange' when he entered into occupation, and according to the Directories lived there until his death in 1893. Major Chambres did, in fact, sell the property before his demise, comprising the house and over 25,000 square yards of land, to a Colonel C.H Bird, of Garstang, for £8,000 in 1888. In 1895, two years after his death, the Clock and Chimes were presented to St. Hilary's Church by his family in his memory, he himself having given the present font during his lifeline.

While he was living at 'Wallasey Grange', his fourth daughter, Blanche was married to Mr Alfred Shaw, of Arrowe Park. There were several daughters, who were well-known in the parish for their love of horses and dogs and their outspoken ways. History, although it does not say which, relates that one of them, when attired in her bridal array, looked at herself in the glass and exclaimed, "Well, I do look a fool". The girls regularly attended the Annual Concerts organised by the Ferry hands, and when crossing the river thought nothing of descending into the engine-room and even the stokehold. They were also known to take the wheel on occasion.

Colonel Bird, who does not appear to have actually occupied the house, sold the property to a William Thomson, of William Thomson & Moulton, the well-known Estate Agents, for £7,250 in 1897, and six years later Mr Thomson transferred it to his wife under a Deed of Gift. The Thomsons' stay there did not last very long, as in 1908 the house was taken over, presumably on a rental basis, by Miss Anne Vyner, previously Head Mistress of Wallasey High School for Girls, and converted into a school known as 'Wallasey Grange School', Miss Vyner herself living with some of the mistress in a large house nearby. The school came to an end in 1918, and later that year Mrs Thomson sold the estate, then reduced to 11,350 square yards, to Henry Dodgson, a Mantle Manufacturer, previously of Warren Drive, for £4,500.

In 1923, the Corporation, having bought the Golf Links in 1910, purchased 'The Grange', as it is now usually known, as a Headquarters for the Municipal Golf Club, and so its life as a private residence came to an end. In its early days, the property, stretching as it did as far as Jockey Lane, now Sandcliffe Road, must have been a very attractive one.

Hose Side House

On the left of Hose Side Road, opposite Elleray Park, 'Hose Side House' was to be seen, occupying the area between the top of Gerard Road and Grove Road. The house, which at various times was known as 'Hose Side Farm', 'Davies's Farm', 'Lindsay's Farm', or just 'The Hose Side', was originally owned by the Davies family. It is probable that the property, or at any rate the land, first came into the possession of John Davies, a Liverpool attorney, under the Enclosures Acts of 1809 and 1814. By 1841 the house had been built and was occupied by the Davies family, while the surrounding farm, then consisting of approximately 68 acres, was tenanted by a Mr John Griffiths.

John Davies's son, John S. Davies, lived on in 'Hose Side House' and died in 1860, and subsequently the property became the residence of Mr William Ackers, a Liverpool brewer, who in 1877 departed with his family for Venezuela.

The Ackers family were succeeded at 'Hose Side House' by Mr J.H.C Lindsay, an iron and Steel Merchant, who in 1872 had married Lucy Marion Davies, daughter of the late proprietor of the farm and grand-daughter of Edward Meddowcroft, a man of some substance in the early part of the last century, after whom Meddowcroft Road was named. Mr Lindsay, having survived his wife by two years, died in 1923, leaving two daughters, Lucy Margaret and Nora, both then single, in residence at the house. However, in October, 1928, presumably in anticipation of Nora's impending marriage, the property was split up, Nora retaining the house and 8,385 square yards of land, whilst the cottage and farm buildings, opposite Rockland Road, standing on 1,500 square yards of land, were transferred to her sister, who also received £500 in cash. A further portion of the estate, fronting on to Hose Side Road and then occupied by the courts of the old North Wirral Tennis Club, was not affected by the division and remained in the joint possession of the two ladies.

In November, 1928, Nora married James Elphinstone Bocquet Anderson, they taking up residence at 'Hose Side House', with an entrance from Grove Road. Some nine years later, on 1st March, 1937, to be exact, the two sisters then sold their respective interests in the property, including the tennis-courts, to the Wallasey building firm of Tate, Pumford and Doughty, for a total of £6,350, with the proviso that a piece of land situated to the west of what is now Gerard Avenue should be excluded from the sale and reserved for tennis. The courts of the North Cheshire Tennis club now occupy the site, while on the remainder of the estate stand the semi-detached houses in Gerard Avenue, Hose Side Road and Grove Road. At this time, Lucy Margaret was living in Sunningdale Road, her sister, Nora, having removed to Droitwich.

It would seen that on the death of John Davies's son in 1860, the task of selling off the original 68 acres owned by the family was undertaken, inasmuch as when 'Verulam Lodge', better known as 'The Grange' in Grove Road, was built for Major Walter in 1862, the proceedings were initiated by the purchase of 8,000 square yards of land from 'Hose Side Farm', at a cost of £500. In 1866 another portion, now part of the Municipal Golf Links, was sold to Charles Holland, of Vale Park, for £8,000, while in 1911 a further 5,263 square yards of land, lying between the Captain's Pit and Wallasey High School (now Mount Primary School), and used as a hockey-pitch, was purchased from Mrs Lindsay by the Corporation for the sum of £1,768.15/-. Finally, in 1923, when Rolleston Drive was extended through to Belvidere Road, the Corporation purchased 6,950 square yards of land from the sisters, at a cost of £2,780.

St. Hilary

The house next door to the cul de sac 'The Willows' is still there, although it has changed its occupation. It is 'St. Hilary', now a hotel presently called 'Grove House Hotel', but built as a private residence about 1870 by a Mr H.A Ewer, a solicitor, who was followed in 1875 by the Martin family, who stayed there until the beginning of the last century, when Mr H.E Wild, a Cotton Broker and the last private owner, bought the property. The photograph above shows the garden at the rear, and Mr Wild's two children. The little girl died many years ago, two years after her marriage, and the boy in 1988. The stables were destroyed in an air-raid in 1940.

Mr Wild was of a generous disposition, inasmuch as he bore the cost of the new north wing added to the late lamented Cottage Hospital, as it was then known, and also paid for the installation of electric light in St. Hilary's Church in 1912, in memory of his parents.

The Laund

At the corner of Claremount Road and Broadway Avenue there stood for many years a house known as 'The Laund'.

The house was the home of a local benefactor, James Harrison, who, with his brother Thomas, founded the well-known firm of T. and J Harrison Ltd. Shipowners. The estate of "The Lounds" comprised of the house and gardens and two fields which ran the length of Townfield Lane, as Broadway Avenue was then called, from Claremount Road to Belvidere Road. The field nearest to the house was called 'Nearer Lower Lounds' and this gave the dwelling its name.

Mr Harrison, who in all probability built the house, took up residence with his wife Jane in 1857. He had originally come from Cockerham, near Lancashire during the 1840's, joining his brother Thomas in the firm of George Brown and Harrison, shipbrokers. Whilst Thomas appears to have always lived on the Liverpool side of the Mersey, James settled in Wallasey, first living in 'Craven Cottage' New Brighton in the Mount Road area, and subsequently at 'Quarry Bank', Rake Lane, followed by a move to Church Hill in 1857 and in the same year to 'The Laund'.

'The Laund' was a detached square built two story Victorian Villa built in stone with some classical features. Its situation at the junction of Claremount and Broadway Avenue gave it an advantageous position for there were extensive views all round, especially across the Wirral Peninsula. The approach to the house was through a gateway from Claremount Road and up a short drive to the front entrance. The main grounds and gardens to the house sloped away to the rear Eastwards, in the same inclination as Broadway Avenue is today, and went as far as Shrewsbury Road, with the two fields beyond. The south boundary followed Broadway Avenue and the north boundary, which was tree lined, is now the present line of the rear gardens to houses in Broadway Avenue, numbers 21 to 67. Behind the house there were two large greenhouses and beyond the garden opened up on to a large stepped lawn terminating in one corner in a group of outbuilding and stables. It was here that a carriage and horse could have been keptThe "Laund" was distinctive for the many towers, pediments, balustrade balconies, and other details all built in stone. The low pitched roof at various levels was covered in lead and the overhanging eaves supported on moulded stone sprockets. The corners of the different parts of the building were set off by projecting heavy stone quoins. Most of the windows at ground floor level were square-headed whilst those on the upper floors were semi-circular. The house itself was on two levels, and this was no doubt to take advantage of the fall of the site.

In 1879 when his wife died and after the marriage of his son, Frederick the following year, Mr Harrison purchased an estate in Kent, where he lived until his own death in 1891.

Frederic's bride was Emily, eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs R. B Watson, of 'Sudworth House', Mount Road, and the wedding,which took place at St. Hilary's Church, was undoubtedly an outstanding local event. Both church and churchyard were packed with well-wishers, and the capacity of the landed proprietors of those days to cope with any situation was well illustrated by the fact that during the afternoon of the very wedding day, Mr James Harrison and his daughters entertained no fewer than 350 children from the local Sunday Schools to tea at 'The Laund'. The festivities were continued on the following Wednesday, when 400 Wallasey Villagers and friends sat down to supper in the Village.

In 1883, three years after his father's departure for Kent, Frederic Harrison bought 'The Laund' and surrounding grounds from him for the sum of £5,000 and continued to live there with his wife until 1889, when they moved to Arrowe Park Hall, as tenants, and later, in 1897 to Maer Hall in Newcastle, Staffs. It is on record that during the first year at Arrowe Park, Wallasey Cricket Club went by wagonette to play the Park Club, and were successful in winning the match by nineteen runs.

Frederic Harrison retained possession of 'The Laund', but let it in 1890 to Mr R.S Tipton a well-known Liverpool cotton broker, who was Chairman of the Liverpool Tug Co. He died in 1904, but his widow remained in residence until her own death in 1913, at the age of 83. Her daughter, Miss Rose Martha Tipton, moved to 'Mere Lodge', Mere Lane, Wallasey, where she herself died in 1925. In the meantime, on the 28th April 1914, presumably as the result of Mrs Tipton's death, Frederic Harrison, still the owner of 'The Laund', settled the house and 8,884 square yards of land on his four daughters, Jane Ellen Leslie, Ellen Emily, Rosamund Mary, and Frederica Heath, two of whom subsequently married.

Frederic Harrison died at Maer Hall on April 7th 1915, and a fire at the Hall many years later, when his grand daughters were in occupation, unfortunately destroyed many of the Harrison family records. 'The Laund', after standing empty for some time, was converted into a Home for Distressed Gentlewomen in 1916. Its use in that capacity soon terminated after The Great War, and the estate was sold in 1924 for development, the house being demolished about that time. The name of the property is now perpetuated by the cul-de-sac near the top of Broadway Avenue, and evidence of the generosity of the Harrison family itself remains with us in the shape of Harrison Park and St. Nicholas Church, which Frederic and his younger brother, Sir Heath Harrison built and endowned in 1911 in memory of their parents.

The East Window of the Lady Chapel of St. Hilary's Church stands as a memorial to the Tipton family, many members of which are buried in the churchyard.


'Braddofields', an attractive old house stood at the corner of Mayfield Road and Claremount Road, opposite to what was 'Nightingale Lodge', and is now Claremount Court, faced south-west. It boasted a large garden, a tennis-court which lay below the top lawn. a kitchen-garden and greenhouses. In addition, there were stables and a cobbled yard at the rear, backing on to Claremount Road. The house itself had a large drawing-room, a dining-room, a schoolroom, a large stone-flagged kitchen and back-kitchen, a butler's pantry, and back stairs leading up to two very nice attic bedrooms. presumably for the use of the servants. On the first floor were six bedrooms, with a lovely view of the Welsh hills from the front windows.

The first mention of the property was in 1839, when Daniel Robinson and his mortgages executed a conveyance of the land and an earlier house, then tenanted by the Revd. Brancker, a curate at St. Hilary's Church, to Mr George Clare, a Malt Shop Merchant, for £600. He died in 1844, whereupon the property was transferred to his widow, Anne. She passed away in 1852, and the estate was then put up for auction by her Executors. The successful bidder, Mr H.B Fishwick, a watch-case manufacturer in a large way of business, secured the property for £470, promptly demolished the residence and replaced it with the building that now exists.

Mr Fishwick continued at the house until 1866, and then sold out to Mr Thomas Jones, a Merchant, for £1,200. He added a piece of land fronting on to Mayfield Road, but in the late 1880's let the house to Mr H.D.B Wall, a partner in the well-known form of paint manufacturers, Goodlass, Wall & Company. In 1895, Mr F.H Hornblower, an Iron and Steel Merchant, purchased the property from Mr Jones at a cost of £1,500, and it was to his youngest daughter that we are indebted for a charming picture of family life as it was in those days. There were four children, three girls and a boy, of which she was the sole survivor, and she related that in the summer they went to tennis parties at all the large houses in the area, such as 'The Laund', 'Clare Lodge', 'The Eyrie', 'The Mosslands', and so on, and to indoor parties in the winter. It was a great thrill watching for the lights of the horse-drawn cab coming along Claremount Road to collect them. In their own house, they had lovely parties and even plays, when a temporary stage was erected in the recess in the dining-room usually occupied by the sideboard. All the hits of the day, such as "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Snow White", were put on, and they made all the costumes themselves. It was a special treat to be invited to ride in the Tipton's carriage-and-pair from 'The Laund', as there was a coachman complete with a cockade in his hat.

In 1914, the desirability of widening Claremount Road became apparent, and in November of that year, under a Compulsory Purchase Order, Mr Hornblower sold the estate to Wallasey Corporation for £1,830. The war precluded any immediate action, but on its conclusion in 1918 the house was demolished and the wall set back, although the original gate posts are still to be seen.

In later years, a new tennis court was laid nearer to Claremount Road, on the site of the old house, for the use of nurses working at the Women's Hospital opposite. It has since been replaced by a modern residence.

Clare Mount

Claremount Road originally known as Top Lane at one period of its history boasted four large houses, one of which was 'Clare Mount' which stood almost opposite the Methodist church. Looking up Sandy Lane in the early years gives a good idea of the open situation of the property. 'Clare Mount', which was not its first name, was built, in 1836, in stone in a neo-classical style, two storey's high facing south. The entrance to the grounds faced the top of Sandy Lane and a tree lined drive ran parallel to Claremount Road winding round in front of the house, past a porch, lawn and cultivated gardens, terminating at the rear of the property by the stables, coaching accommodation and greenhouses. The earliest information available regarding this house indicates that it was built by a William Dean and sold by him to John Astley Marsden of Liscard Castle.

An early tenant was Thomas Murray, Merchant, later of 'Sudworth House', but by 1845 it was occupied by Robert Beausire, gentleman, whose wife, Mrs Janet Beausire, conducted a school on the premises, at that time called 'Brighton House'. Mr Marsden, the owner, died in 1853, and in April, 1856 the property was sold by his Executors, in conjunction with his mortgages, for £2,656, the purchaser being the Revd. W. Clayton Greene, M.A., who had hitherto conducted a school in Hope Street, Liverpool, at which Boyd Carpenter, later Bishop of Ripon, was a pupil. Mrs Beausire removed her school to Beech House, Manor Road, and the Revd. Greene established a new boarding school at 'Brighton House', which he renamed 'Clare Mount' in honour of Clare College,Cambridge, where he had obtained his degree. Shortly afterwards, St. Hilary's Church was burned down, and as a temporary measure services were held at the school, but this proved unsatisfactory inasmuch as the three class-rooms involved opened out of each other, the parson being in the centre one, with the result that the congregation in the other rooms heard little and saw less of what was going on. It was then decided to transfer the services to the Wallasey Club Room at the 'Ship Inn' in Breck Lane, no doubt a measure which met with a certain amount of approval.

In due course the Revd. Clayton Greene was joined by his son the Revd. W.E Freeman Greene, who when he was first ordained, was licensed to St. Hilary's as a curate taking the evening services, assisted by his father. He was a keen sportsman, and it is on record that he obtained his 'Blue' at Cambridge for cricket. In 1865, the Revd. Clayton Greene retired, and built for his own occupation 'Clare Lodge', a large house standing further down the road towards St. Hilary's church. The school continued to flourish under his son, in conjunction with the Revd. William Spencer, of the parish church, attracting pupils from a wide area, but the Revd. Spencer died in 1868, while visiting friends in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and in 1871 the Greene's decided to move to London. The school, but not the property, then passed under the control of the Revd. H.J Palmer, who in Rector Haggitt's day had been a curate at St. Hilary's church, and then married Margaret Byrth, the daughter of Dr Byrth, Rector from 1834 to 1849. The rent for the property was £200 per annum, plus a capitation fee in respect of new pupils in the early years of the tenancy.

The Revd. Palmer successfully continued the school, and it is apparent that the pupils received a good general education, as it was announced in 1880 that one of the boys, in the recent Oxford examinations, had obtained first class honour's in Latin, Greek, French and Mathematics. Sporting activities were not neglected, as the cricket team was credited with having bowled out Wallasey Cricket Club in 1871 for four runs, three of which were extras. The annual Athletic Festival attracted a large body of spectators, the presentation of prizes being undertaken by a local notable, such as Mrs Maddock, Lady of the Manor. On Speech Day it was the frequent practice of the Bishop of Chester to attend the present the prizes. Proof that the school was well-known nationally and even internationally is afforded by the fact that in 1881 one of the students, hailing from Edinburgh, received the Certificate of the Royal Humane Society for plunging through a hole in the ice whilst on holiday and rescuing two boys. On a further sad note a Spanish boy died at the school and was buried in the graveyard of St Albans Church, his body being exhumed eleven years later and taken back to Spain. Finally, in a matter of interest, there was an obituary notice in the 'Daily Telegraph' in 1963, announcing the death, at Newbury, of a ninety-three year old lady, grand-daughter of the late Revd. Clayton Greene, of Claremount School, Wallasey.

The Revd. Palmer was succeeded at the school in 1886 by the Revd. W.J Thomas, and in 1889 the Revd. Greene entered into an agreement for the sale of the property to a Mr Edward Bulman, a local builder, for £3,300. It was rumored at the time that the house was to be divided into three residences, and in fact a Mr Houghton wrote in from Stoneby Cottage on black-edged note-paper to say that he was considering reducing the establishment and would like to be given first refusal of one of the portions, He stated that the requirements were quite modest, just three entertaining rooms and five r six bedrooms would be sufficient! Something must have caused a change of plan, for in 1890 the agreement for sale was rescinded, and in November of that year the property was sold to Captain C.G Dunn, a Liverpool shipowner, who converted it to a private residence, while still retaining the name. originally, the grounds stretched almost to Hoseside Road, covering in addition the site of Lyndhurst Road, but on this occasion only seven acres and the house changed hands, the purchase price being £3,500, of which £2,000 was left on mortgage, this being paid off on the Revd. Green's death in 1895. Captain Dunn died at Lisbon in 1898, but his widow, who survived until 1938, and later his family, continued to occupy the house until the 1940's after which the Corporation purchased the estate at a cost of £8,500 for the erection of a Special School. Local golfers may be interested to know that one of Captain Dunn's daughter married Dr. Stableford, inventor of the famous scoring system at golf, and a well-known figure in Wallasey for many years in his ancient Rolls 'Royce.