Sunday, 16 July 2017

Allerton Hall and Springwood

The recent history walk with the students concentrated on two gems of Liverpool architecture; the Neo-Classical brilliance of Allerton Hall and the early Victorian house that was originally named Springwood, more recently called St. Michael's Mount.
The present Allerton Hall was built by the Hardman family, John Hardman being a merchant originally from Rochdale. Abolitionist William Roscoe moved into the hall in 1799 and added to it, his library being one of the most respected in the Liverpool area. In 1816 Roscoe moved out of the house which subsequently passed through a number of owners. Richard Wright rented the hall in the 1860s, and his son-in-law was the merchant and Confederate Agent Charles Prioleau, who stayed in the hall during the American Civil War period (you can see an article I wrote on the American Civil War and Liverpool here) Captain Raphael Semmes - the captain of the Alabama - stayed as a guest for a while, the hall actually flying the Confederate flag.
Eventually the hall was owned by Thomas Clarke, whose widow gave the Hall and land to the city in 1926. During WWII the house became the headquarters of the National Fire Service, and a 'block house' can still be seen near the road in the grounds. The hall was then used as a banqueting suite for weddings, many of the students actually remember attending wedding receptions there in the 1970s and 1980s. After a fire in 1994, the hall was renovated and is now the Pub in the Park.

Springwood is located on the corner of Woolton Road and Springwood, not far from Allerton Hall. It was built around 1840 by William Shand - so named after his estate in Antigua. Shipping magnate Thomas Brocklebank then purchased the house in 1844, the house staying with the Brocklebank family until it was passed onto the Liverpool Corporation. It was used by the military authorities during the first and second world wars, and had been used by the Springwood Tenants Association as a community centre in 1928. Now the building is used as a care home, but still retains some beautiful architectural features, some of which reminds me of Sudley House, especially the elegant staircase and the skylight that is geometrically positioned above it to flood the hallway with natural light.

All photos by Dr David Harrison
© Dr David Harrison 2017.


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