Hoole Road

From Hoole History and Heritage Society

From Hoole Bridge to Lightfoot Street[1]

Earl of Shrewbury's Lands 1789[2]

The Earl of Shrewsbury was Lord of the Manor of Hoole from 1510 and the earliest Estate Plan (extract shown) outlines his lands here in 1789. The ancient bridge crossing Flookersbrook can be seen on its western edge as can 'The Ermine', the isolated building to the north. The schedule with the Plan states that there were houses here and the tenant of Plots 1 & 2 was William Hale, a butcher.

Hoole’s Tithe Map, some 50 years later, provides more detail. Close to the bridge was the aptly named Bridge Cottage leased to Thomas Bowers (1797-1848), a druggist whose warehouse fire in 1828 threatened to destroy the heart of Chester; he sub-let the Cottage to William Darlington, a smith and wheelwright in Canal Street; unfortunately it was in the path of the railway line into Chester Station and was demolished.

The next property to the east was Brook Lodge and its Tithe Map tenant, John Broster, a printer and publisher described it in the Chester Guide 1828 as follows:

Brook Lodge in the village of Flookersbrook is an object well worthy of notice for the quantity of ancient carved work it contains. The portrait of Sir Walter Raleigh and his Lady with the family arms are inserted in the front door.

When the railway companies acquired land on the western border of Hoole & Newton, they diverted and culverted Flookersbrook in order to build the General Railway Station, Brook Lodge was included in their purchase and they continued to lease it, their occupant in 1841 being George Pickering, who was the drawing master of Chester; he held painting classes here and is remembered for his pictures of Lady Broughton’s garden at Hoole House. In 1851 Edward Claudius Walker was the tenant. Then aged 25, occupation lead merchant, he went on to run the Leadworks where he was chief resident partner in the firm Walker, Parker & Co. According to the probate he died at Brook House, Clapton in the parish of Hackney: this was used as a private madhouse from 1759 to 1940.

The railway companies then used Brook Lodge for their employees; in 1861 it was the home of Robert Lewis Jones, the Station’s General Manager, and in the 1870s and 80s, William Comber, their Goods Manager lived there. It was eventually converted into offices. The Hoole Entrance to the Station was built on its land in 1893 (see Hoole Bridge article).

Hoole entrance to Chester Station, Newsagent, 'The Grange', and the roof of 'Brook Lodge'

Brook Lodge was the original 1 Hoole Road and next door Flookersbrook House was No.3. This was re-named 'The Grange' and still stands today, re-numbered as No.1. Early maps show the properties side by side with large ornamental gardens. In 1851 John Maddock, a tallow chandler, was in residence followed by John Tatlock, a solicitor and Coroner for the City of Chester. Henry Taylor, a coal merchant lived there in 1864 and the Du Paget family were residents during the 1870s. By 1881, Richard Grandidge, a wealthy timber merchant and sometime Chairman of Hoole Urban District Council acquired the property; he re-named it The Grange and added the entrance porch, spire and weathervane dated 1897 which we can see today.

The garden of 'The Grange' on the corner of Lightfoot Street

During the 20th century, The Grange had a number of different tenants. In 1926 a newsagent, tobacconist and confectioner shop was built in its grounds adjacent to the Hoole Station Entrance, run until the 1960s by Hardcastles and then by the Eatons. The Grange Café was also there. At the same time the potential of its gardens on the corner of Lightfoot Street as a retail site was recognised and the shops we see today were built. Over the years their traders changed frequently. Trades included a butcher, boots & shoe repairer, mantle supplier, fruiterers and florists, gramophones and cycle shops. For many years the corner shop was run by Austins the drapers; the authors first suit (for a family wedding) was purchased from there some 65 years ago on hire purchase for half a crown (12½ pence) a week.

Lightfoot Street to the Shell Garage[3]

The Lord of the Manor, the Earl of Shrewsbury, owned this land and on the 1789 plan of his Estates, the western part (No.3 [see above]) was rented to Edward Ommanney Wrench the owner of Dee Mills which burnt down in 1789. Ommanney Wrench was a Lt. Colonel in the Royal Chester Regiment of Local Militia and there is a large memorial to him in Chester Cathedral. The eastern part (No.4) was rented to the Artingstall family, who ran the Ermine Hotel. John Lightfoot (1758 to 1832) married Mary, the widow of John Artingstall, the Landlord, in 1783. He then became the Landlord from 1786 to 1818. John Lightfoot eventually owned a number of properties in Flookersbrook and must have acquired this land from the Earl of Shrewsbury. Following John Lighfoot’s death in 1832, research suggests that the land rightfully belonged to his Trustees, although the Tithe Map Records (c.1839) show the land to be in the ownership of his son-in-law, Thomas Walker.

Town Plan 1874

The prominent property on the land rented by Edward Ommanney Wrench was the western facing Ashtree House which was set in extensive grounds. William Williams who ran the Flookersbrook Tanyard for Thomas Walker was also his tenant at Ashtree House. After his death in 1860 his wife continued to live there. However, by 1878, Ashtree House had become a Ladies School run by Mrs. Thomas whose husband, Thomas Lloyd Thomas was a newspaper reporter. When Tomlinson Street was built in the 1880’s the house was demolished.

The earliest record of a licensed premises appears in an 1857 Directory. The 1861 Census lists the Globe Tavern run by Robert Hand, who was described as a “railway servant and beerhouse keeper”. An application for a fuller licence in 1884 revealed that The Globe had been replaced by a new hotel called The Beehive. This was owned by Thomas Henry William Walker, an architect from Liverpool. Together in partnership with his brother, John Lightfoot Walker, he also owned the Lion Brewery in Pepper Street, Chester. They were the great grandsons of John Lightfoot and the grandsons of Thomas Walker. Refusal for the fuller licence resulted in a fresh application in 1886 which described The Beehive as “picturesque and pretty and having 8 bedrooms and stabling for four horses”.

During the application, it was revealed that T.H.W. Walker was the owner of land on either side of The Beehive. As an architect, he probably designed the new hotel and the houses built on either side (the terrace to the west was named Brookside Villas to the east was Hawthorne Villas). The application was again refused apparently on a technicality, but opposition from The Ermine and from the abstinence movement no doubt played a large part in the decision.

A chronology of events:

  • Between 1876 and 1885 newspaper adverts for The Lion Brewery show G.F. Clough as the proprietor, but in an 1882 advert John Lightfoot Walker appears as Managing Partner.
  • September 1884 - Licensing Sessions Chester Castle. Application made for full licence for The Beehive. Mr Thomas Walker, Architect, Liverpool the owner – refused.
  • August 1885 - Public Notice. T. H. W. Walker, J. L. Walker & G. F. Clough dissolved their partnership in The Lion Brewery – G. F. Clough withdrawing.
  • May 1886 - Hoole Local Board Minutes. Plans of houses to be erected by Mr Walker on the corner of Lightfoot Street but facing the main (Hoole) road were approved.
  • September 1886 - Licensing Sessions Chester Castle. Re-application made for full licence. "A former beerhouse has been rebuilt as a small hotel in the semi-rural district of Flookersbrook ... the house was picturesque and pretty having eight bedrooms ... stabling for four horses had been built". "The owner had bought adjoining property and was building on it five houses ... on the other side a similar number of houses had already been built".
  • September 1886 - Flookersbrook Improvement Bill. Plan shows "Five houses being built".
  • December 1888 - Liverpool Mercury. Partnership in The Lion Brewery dissolved - T. H. W. Walker retired.
  • August 1890 - Change of Licence Application for The Beehive. "T. H. W. Walker, 39 Kelvin Grove, Prince's Park, Liverpool is the owner and J. L. Walker of The Lion Brewery is the Lessee".
  • July 1893 - John Lightfoot Walker sells The Lion Brewery to Thomas Montgomery.
The Beehive Public House on Hoole Road

The name ‘The Beehive’ first appears in 1869 when the Innkeeper was William Smith. It was Albert Bailey, the Landlord in 1884, who first applied for a full licence. Over the next 30 years there were to be 9 different Licensees. T.H.W. Walker withdrew from his Lion Brewery partnership in 1888 and his brother sold the business to Thomas Montgomery in 1893. The Lion Brewery continued to supply the beer until it was taken over by Bents Brewery in 1903.

List of Landlords at The Beehive:

(Periods of Tenure based on recorded incidents and not always exclusive)

  • 1857 to 1864   Robert Hand (The Globe Inn)
  • 1869 to 1881   William Smith
  • 1883 to 1886   Albert Bailey
  • 1887                Miss Ann Powell married to become Mrs. Evans
  • 1888                Charles Hampson
  • 1889 to 1891   Samuel Blount Jackson
  • 1892 to 1896   W.J. Armstrong
  • 1897 to 1899   Christopher Mulligan
  • 1900                Sarah Ann Watts
  • 1902                James Ernest Galt
  • 1903 to 1906   William Arthur Farmerey (wife died mysterious death from strychnine)
  • 1911                John Charles Grimes
  • 1914 to 1939   George Albert Jones
  • 1940                Alan James Earle
  • 1940 to 1942   Martha Florence Earl
  • 1952                William Ross
Cab Drivers' Dinner 1869
Sale of Samuel Weaver's Effects

The 1891 Licensing Register shows that The Beehive had “6 beds for travellers and accommodation for supplying refreshments for 30 people”. Functions were held at the Hotel and the annual supper of “Railway Bus and Cab Drivers” was held from 1869 onwards, presided over by Mr. Samuel Weaver, whose cab and posting business effects were sold by auction there in 1895.

Licensing Application 1892 (part 1)

Coroners’ Inquests took place and when Chester Football Club played at the Tomkinson Street ground The Beehive was used for changing purposes. During the First World War, Hoole Urban District Council distributed surplus sugar from here to soft fruit growers for the making of preserves and jams [see Hoole Allotments article in Leisure & Recreation in Hoole].


Licensing Application 1892 (part 2)

Another application for a full licence was made in 1892 prior to the Royal Agricultural Show being held in Hoole in the following year. The only opposition was from The Ermine Hotel. However, in spite of support from the Chairman and several Members of the Hoole Local Board, and a petition signed amongst others by the Rector of Plemstall and the Church Wardens of All Saints Church, the application was refused. This was probably due to the advice of Colonel Cope, on behalf of the Police, that the full licence was not required.


The occupants of Brookside Villas and Hawthorn Villas were mainly from the professional classes - clergy, surveyors, auditors and doctors and dentists. Some of the houses were used as surgeries. From 1900 the properties were assimilated into the numbering of Hoole Road and lost their identities. Before the advent of the big banks further along Hoole Road, the need for banking services for the working man had been recognised by the Chester & North Wales District Savings Bank and their Hoole branch was built into the fabric of No.13. It eventually became Lloyds TSB and for many years the clock in its window was the only public time piece in Hoole to rival that on the steeple of All Saints Church.

Time has not stood still; the bank has closed, and 'The Beehive' is now a branch of 'Richer Sounds'.

The Shell Garage site – Moor House and Moor Park[4][5]

Lands for sale in Hoole in 1852

Documents in the Cheshire Record Office[6] enable the history of this side of Hoole Road as far as Canadian Avenue to be traced. In 1708, the Mayor of Chester leased two fields on Hoole Rake (Hoole Road) and St. Ann’s Rake (Hoole Lane) for 99 years to Thomas Kelsall of Mickle Trafford. In 1721 the land on the two Rakes was divided into several fields including Golden Grove. At this time Thomas Kelsall re-assigned the residue of the Lease to Richard Gildart of Liverpool. In subsequent years the Lease was sublet and transferred on several occasions. It was eventually owned by the Rathbone family from the Wirral. The illustration below shows these fields which were advertised for sale in 1852. The red area became Moor Park and the green area became Golden Grove. This stretched from Hamilton Street to Canadian Avenue and included the site of All Saints Church. The field on Hoole Lane was coloured yellow.

Bryant's Map 1831 showing the location of Brook Cottage

A daughter of the Rathbones, Mary Wilson, inherited the land; her husband died and Thomas Tolver (1752-1828) befriended her. The 1789 Cowdroy’s Directory lists him as a gentleman owning lands in Hoole. He was however described by his grandson, Sir James Paget (1814-1899) who became an eminent surgeon, as being “a kind of self elected fine gentleman, highly self estimated, who never engaged himself in business. He married a rich widow and lived on the remains of her property, helped later in life by that of an old lady who lived with him and two of his daughter – Maria and Francis – who had incomes of their own.” Thomas Tolver benefited from the inheritance of Mary Wilson in 1797 and himself came to own the lands; he was declared bankrupt in 1800 when he was living at Brook Cottage in Flookersbrook where he died in 1828.

Tithe Map Apportionments c.1839

The lands previously owned by Mary Wilson were then inherited by Thomas Tolver’s three daughters – Sarah Elizabeth (Paget) (1778-1843), Francis, also known as Fanny (Bagnall) (1772-1851) and Maria Jane (Moor) (1781-1859).

The Tithe Maps c.1839 show that the plots of land on the south side of Hoole Road were owned by Francis Bagnall and some of the eastern plots were held jointly with William Hamilton. This was because the Hamilton family in 1808-9 had purchased the vested and contingent estate of the remaining children of the Burrows and Tonna families who at some stage had been tenants.

Francis Bagnall was also the owner of a house and gardens and the 1841 Census and an 1848 Directory show that this was Brook Cottage. She died in 1851 but the Census of that year shows that her sister, Maria Moor was living with her.

Census 1841
Census 1851

    During the early 1850s the lands were sold and by 1853 Maria Moor had given her name to Moor Park which went as far as Hamilton Street. The successive advertisements show how the land was eventually marketed as being of superior quality, with good drainage. It was to be a private gated development and this explains why there are gate posts to Derby Place, Stone Place and Westminster Road, which also had a boundary wall across it (see Westminster Road article). Beyond that, the fields were listed as Golden Grove.

Advertisment for Moor Park Land March 1852
Advertisment for Moor Park Land October 1853

            George Meakin, a railway contractor, who had worked for Thomas Brassey on the construction of the new Chester General Railway Station bought a large plot on which The Elms was built. Brook Cottage was demolished to make way for Moor House, which was described in the advert for its auction in 1859 following Maria Moor’s death as a “genteel private residence with exterior gardens and pleasure grounds”.

Moor House. Built 1850. Front View 1950s
Moor House. Built 1850. Rear View 1950s


Ordinance Survey Map 1875
Sale of Moor House and effects 1859 (1)
Sale of Moor House and effects 1859 (2)

Both Francis Bagnall and Maria Moor were wealthy ladies, prominent in subscribing to local causes, which included a donation to the building of Christ Church School in Peploe Street (opened 1857) and the Patriotic Fund. In 1816, they both marched in the first procession of the Flookersbrook, Newton & Hoole Friendly Society from Flookersbrook to the Cathedral; they were still taking part in the Friendly Society marches in 1840 when Francis was 68 and Maria was 60.

Frances Bagnall’s husband was Charles Bagnall who died in 1849 aged 60; they were estranged and the record of his burial in St. Mary’s, Lambeth, show his abode as being ‘The Workhouse’.

Maria Moor’s husband, Henry, was a naval officer who served under Sir Thomas Trowbridge and was lost at sea in the Indian Ocean. It is not known for certain whether this was at the same time that Sir Thomas perished in 1807, but seems likely. Sir Thomas was assigned to the Cape of Good Hope as commander-in-chief of the east portion of the East India Command. His ship was the HMS Blenheim, which had 90 guns but had seen much service and was in poor condition following damage in the Straits of Malacca. Although Sir Thomas sailed the Blenheim successfully from Pulo Penang to Madras (after some badly-needed repairs), the ship was still in very bad shape. Sir Thomas was told of the ship's condition, but would not alter his plan to sail her to the Cape. The Blenheim was accompanied by the Java and the Harrier. On February 1, 1807, they were caught in a severe gale, and the last sight of the Blenheim revealed her to be sitting low in the water in obvious distress. The ships were separated, and the Harrier made it to the Cape on February 28, 1807. The Blenheim and the Java were lost, but the wreck site is roughly known.

Their son, Henry Trowbridge Moor (1803 to 1837) was a Doctor and Physician at Chester Infirmary. He died aged 34 “cut off in the opening of his professional career by fever caught in attendance on the poor” (Memorial inscription Chester Cathedral).


Subscription List Christ Church School 1852 (1)
Subscription List Christ Church School 1852 (2)

The Trustees of Maria Moor sold Moor House to George Haworth in March 1860, a colliery owner from Tryddyn; he appears there in the 1861 Census and he was a partner in a number of mining ventures in North Wales; he died in 1865. The occupants of Moor House for the next fifteen years were the Wimperis family. The father, Edmund Richard was the Chief Accountant at the Leadworks and one of his sons, Edmund Morison Wimperis[7] became a well-known artist; Edmund never lived at Moor House but was brought up in a cottage at the Leadworks where at that time his father was a mere clerk. Other members of the family were also artistic. Edmund Richard was the Chairman of the Hoole Local Board in 1873, and he was a Guardian of the Poor; he died in 1879.

Census 1881 showing pupils at Moor House School (1)
Census 1881 showing pupils at Moor House School (2)

By the time of the 1881 Census, Moor House had become a boarding school run by Thomas L. Thomas and his wife Emily, which had 15 pupils, mainly girls and 4 teachers. (The Thomas’s had previously run a school at Ash Tree House and went on to run another school in Boughton).

By 1891 it was again a private house occupied by Thomas Smith, a draper; in 1893 he was fined 10 shillings and costs for keeping a dog without a license. In the 1901 Census, Joshua Taylor (a railway agent) was the occupant and his widow, Elizabeth Dinel continued to live at Moor House until the 1940s.

Moor House (plain chimney) at the end of Hawthorn Villas

In the early 1950s, Ernest Newport and his son-in-law George Kimpton were recorded as living there and they converted it to become Moor Guest House.

The Filling Station on Hoole Road before its opening in 1963

It was demolished in 1963 when the Shell Filling Station was built on the site.

Damian Kimpton has provided an article on 'Moor House in the 1950s and 1960s'.

Martins Bank Building[8]

When Hoole Urban District Council acquired ‘The Elms’ on Hoole Road in 1922 to use as its Council Offices the extensive grounds were put to use in a number of ways.

The building materials and equipment of the Council's Works Department were stored there, as were their vehicles, access being through School Street.

A Fire Engine shed was built on the west of the site, with direct access to Hoole Road. The building eventually became Hoole Branch Library.

At the rear of the property a large, corrugated iron pavilion was erected which became Hoole's equivalent to a village hall, where events and celebrations were held, Victory and Coronation parties, socials and whist drives, horticultural shows and weddings, carpet bowls and concerts. The Council used it for civic purposes like public meetings and the issue of ration books.

However, on the west side of the site the Council agreed to sell a plot of land adjoining Allington Terrace to the Bank of Liverpool and Martins so that they could build a sub-branch. The bank opened in 1927 and the following information is reproduced Courtesy of Martins Bank Archive (more details can be found at http://www.martinsbank.co.uk/11-77-40%20Chester%20Hoole.htm) –

Hoole, which is opened by the Bank of Liverpool and Martins in 1927, is a sub-branch to, but finds itself not at all in the shadow of, Martins Bank’s magnificent Branch at Chester.

No, in fact 31 Hoole Road has its own charms, brick built, an arched window, and a small front garden. These touches are often lacking in the planning an execution of modern-day bank premises – as we stay away in droves, being told that we prefer to use internet banking, older premises are being closed and sold, and one member of staff now serves from out of a shoebox, that which once anything up to 100 people crafted out lovingly by hand with the aid only of an adding machine and a typewriter. The Martins building at Hoole Road has its own separate suite of offices – entitled “Martins Bank Chambers” – which typically will be rented out to say, a firm of solicitors or accountants – it helps pay the rates, anyway... Sadly, Hoole Branch does not last for too long after the merger of Martins Bank with Barclays, and the doors are closed forever on Friday 12 January 1973, just over forty six years since it was opened by the Bank of Liverpool and Martins. This simple advertisement, heralding the arrival of the Branch, has been restored by Martins Bank Archive and was taken out in local newspapers on 5 January 1927.” (The Cheshire Courier).

Martins Bank then and now - a contemporary photograph by Robert Montgomery of 31 Hoole Road in 2009[10]. With Martins long gone, you can just make out Barclays’ own branch a little further down the road, which was still open at that time, and in the background the steeple of All Saints Church

The article refers to Martins Bank Chambers which were occupied from the 1960s by Matthews Lewis & Co, solicitors, whose name can be seen on the later sign. Following the closure of the bank in 1973 the firm took over the whole building and is now incorporated there as Bartletts Solicitors.

A fuller history of The Elms is in preparation.

Folly House[11][12]


Ordinance Survey Map 1875

Folly House dominated the north side of Hoole Road in Flookersbrook for 250 years. In the Hoole Urban District Council Handbook produced in 1947 it is suggested that the house was originally built as a windmill. Its footprint on early Ordnance Survey Maps show that it had an octagonal shape which of course would have been appropriate to house the sail of a windmill.

John Ogilby's Road Map 1675

John Ogilby’s road map of 1675 shows that there was a Mill at that site very near to Cosbrook (Flookersbrook) Hall.

The house was often referred to as Anderson’s Folly, as if the windmill had failed in some way. A suggestion that it was considered for conversion to a watermill is not plausible – very different machinery would have been required, and the nearest water source, the tributary of Flookers Brook which ran/runs parallel with Hoole Road would have required substantial diversion and work to make a mill race.

Extract from Hanshall's History of Chester 1817

It is known that lands in Flookersbrook belonged to John Anderson from as early as 1654[13] when there was contention about his pew in St. Oswald’s Church, and in 1665[14] when there was a problem about him extracting clay. In a 1670 document, John Anderson is listed as an ‘Innholder’ in Newton by Chester. The Inn would almost certainly have been ‘The Ermine’. The extract from Hanshall’s History of Chester 1817 explains how the lands came into his possession.

The lands were eventually acquired by Patterson Ellames, a druggist who was Mayor of Chester from 1781-2. A memorial stone containing his name can be seen on Bridgegate, marking the demolition of the old gate and the building of the existing one. The name Brookhouse had been given to the property and after Ellames’ death in 1860 (link London Gazette 19th October 1860) the auction sale particulars showed that the fields attached to it were known as Mill Field signifying that there was once a mill on that site.

Folly House - Auction sale particulars 1860
Folly House - Auction sale plan 1860
Aerial Photograph 1931

The only known picture of Folly House is from an aerial photograph taken in 1931 in which the building stands out in the shape of the tower, or stump of a windmill.

Patterson Ellames resided at Brookhouse until 1824 when he purchased Allerton Hall[15], south of Liverpool for £28,000 and lived there until his death in 1860. Between 1824 and 1860, Brookhouse was leased and sub-leased. The tenants included Charles Brittain, a chemist who became bankrupt. His son William Brittain became the chief accountant and administrator of John Laird’s Shipbuilders in Birkenhead. Another tenant was Peter Keay, a coal agent who became involved in a cock fighting court case.

In 1860 the property was bought by Charles Brown, of Browns of Chester fame, who was at that time living with his mother in a cottage in the grounds. Charles Brown resurrected the name Folly House and set about improving the property creating large ornamental gardens (records of the Hoole Local Board show a planning application in 1877). He allowed his Folly Field to be used for a variety of events – the reunion of the Earl of Chester’s Rifles in 1883; the annual camps of the Chester Primitive Methodists in 1873-5; the show of the National Rose Society in 1892; and in 1887 he entertained All Saints Church choir there.

Extract from the Flookersbrook Improvement Act 1876

With the purchase of the property he also laid claim to the Manor of Flookersbrook and the first page of the Flookersbrook Improvement Act ensured that his claim was prominently registered.Charles Brown was Mayor of Chester six times and did many good works in Hoole and Newton, being associated with the building of All Saints Church, where there are memorials to him and his parents.

When Charles Brown died in 1900 he left to his niece, Lucy Elizabeth Brown “the use and enjoyment of The Folly, or any other of his houses at Newton and Hoole”. In 1905, she married the curate of St. John’s Church, Rev. Charles Griffin who became the vicar of Dunham Hill. They continued to live at Folly House until just before the outbreak of the First World War.

Voluntary Aid Detachment Card of Mary Smith

Folly House was then occupied by Cecil Plumbe Smith who had previously lived at Newton Hall. He was a partner in Walker Smith & Way, Solicitors, and had owned the land on which Hoole Alexandra Park was built. His wife Mary was Commandant of the Cheshire 46 Red Cross Detachment and was also Matron of Hoole Bank House Auxiliary Hospital.

They continued to live there until the mid-1930s when plans in the County Record Office show Folly House was to be demolished and the houses which are there now built on the site.

The Folly is still remembered today through the names of Folly Cottage and the more recently built Folly House, but the knowledge that there was once a windmill in Flookersbrook has been lost in time.

Hoole Road North Side from Kilmorey Park Avenue to Newton Lane[16]

Kilmorey Park

Sale of Kilmorey Park 1880

The land on the north side of Hoole Road was a part of the Newton-by-Chester estates owned by the Hurleston family and then through marriage by the Needhams who became the Earls of Kilmorey in Ireland. The family also owned large estates in the Nantwich, Crewe and the North Shropshire area, Shavington near Market Drayton being their family seat in England. In 1879 the 2nd Earl (Francis Jack Needham) introduced new agreements for his tenants following the Agricultural Holding Act of 1875 but decided to sell much of his land in Newton.

Advertisment of Unsold Land 1885

In June 1880 Kilmorey Park, comprising "upwards of 50 acres of valuable building land" was advertised for sale as was The Newton Building Estate, being 18 acres around Brook Lane. Editorial comment at the time on the change to the then rural landscape suggested that Newton Hollows and the well-known Folly Field were included in the sale. The large terraces of houses on the south side of Hoole Road had been built over twenty years earlier, and another advertisement in 1885 refers to the land opposite them, with other unsold portions of Kilmorey Park being opposite All Saints Church and Golden Grove (The Dene Hotel).

Architectural Drawing of 'Sandon'

“SANDON” 1883-1942

In April 1884 a drawing appeared in "The Architect" of the house which was to become "Sandon". The architect was F. Roberts about whom no details have been found. The house was built - 1883 appearing on one of its gables- on the corner of Hoole Road and Newton Lane and its first occupant was almost certainly John Forsyth Dunning (1846-1898) because he appears in the 1891 census living there with his wife, Rachel Jane, whose birthplace was Sandon in Staffordshire, hence the name of the house. John F Dunning's signature can be found in the 1889 petition to build an entrance to the General Railway Station from Hoole. He also subscribed half-a-guinea to the fund set up in May 1894 to help defray the expenses of the newly formed Hoole Volunteer Fire Brigade.

He was a boot and shoe manufacturer with premises in Brook Street and following his death in 1898 was succeeded by his son, John Hamlet Dunning. The 1901 census shows John Forsyth Dunning's daughter, Mary K Dunning, living at "Sandon" and advertisements for Dunning boots continued to appear until 1906.

Advertisment for Dunnings Boots 1904
Postcard showing 'Sandon'. Newton Lane is called Newton Road

By the 1911 census Robert Beck had become the owner of "Sandon”, living there with his wife Alice Maude and two sons and two daughters. He was a draper with a shop in Faulkner Street and was elected to Hoole Urban District Council in 1912 becoming its chairman in 1919. Towards the end of the nineteenth century Hoole had become home to a number of members of the Beck family, all of whom were associated with the drapery trade and came from Dumfriesshire in Scotland. James Beck had a shop in Charles Street, which in 1914 won the "Tradesman's Turnout Award" at the Hoole Fete which was held in Alexandra Park; in second place was James Richardson, a milk seller, and in third place Ken Lloyd, fishmonger of Faulkner Street. A separate article on the Beck family is in preparation.

"SANDON" No.34 Hoole Road 1942 -

Harry Smith's Presentation 1971

Robert Beck continued to live at "Sandon" until his death in 1942. Its next occupant was Harry Smith, a dental surgeon who set up his practice there. He was born in Hoole of Welsh parents and trained at Liverpool School of Dentistry. He was dental surgeon to the Royal Infirmary and for the West Cheshire Hospital Management Committee, eventually becoming Chairman of Chester Dental Commission, a very important position in the post WWII years as the National Health Service came into being. He retired in 1971 when he was presented with a silver salver.

Harry Smith was a keen tennis player, President of the Glan Aber Tennis Club, and his wife Joyce was a tennis coach which led them to acquire rights to a tennis court on the opposite corner of Newton Lane to "Sandon".

Current view of 'Sandon'

Sandon Dental Practice continues to operate today and patients in its waiting room are able to contemplate the fireplace there, certainly not the original, nor an alteration by the Scottish Becks. Harry Smith using his Welsh roots was responsible for its installation, the emblems on its shields containing a Welsh Dragon, the three feathers of the Prince of Wales and Cheshire's Coat of Arms. "Sandon" has become something of a landmark in that part of Hoole and Newton.

"THE LIMES" No.12 Hoole Road

On the corner of what is now Kilmorey Park Avenue "The Limes" was built. It had several early occupants, Mr. John S Dickson, a member of the Dickson's Nurseries family, living there in 1888 before moving to Dee Hills Park. The 1891 Census lists Margaret Webb aged 64, a woman of independent means. An advertisement in 1894 shows that James William Huke, a chemist in Foregate Street lived there, in the same year contributing half-a-guinea to the Hoole Volunteer Fire Brigade. The 1901 Census lists William Edwards, a commercial traveller in the flour trade at "The Limes".

'The Limes' and neighbouring properties

Its most interesting occupant was Francis John Butt, Hoole's Medical Officer of Health, whose involvement in local life, doctor, councillor, volunteer fire fighter, sportsman, raconteur will be described in "The People of Hoole and Newton". Dr Butt died in 1933 and his practice at "The Limes" was carried on by his partners, Drs. Russell, Jackson and Gilchrist.

Dr Alexander Russell became the head of practice, his wife Mary becoming Hoole's Medical Officer of Health. Future partners were Drs. Jones and Frood. Eventually in 1966 a medical centre was built on the corner of Newton Lane and Shavington Avenue and the surgery moved there.

Nos.14 to 32 Hoole Road

Most of these houses were built as semi-detached properties, albeit with individual names such as Willow Lodge, Bestwood, Fernbank and Summerville. In the first census recording of them in 1901 many were occupied by commercial travellers although a police superintendent and a solicitor were among the residents. No records have been found, but it is possible that these were in today's terms, buy-to-let properties when first built.

The Society is always interested to receive information about the residents and the use of properties in the area.

Related Pages


  1. Article by Ralph Earlam, initially published in ‘Hoole Roundabout’ in April 2017 - http://www.hooleroundabout.com
  2. With permission of the Chester Record Office
  3. Article researched and written by Ralph Earlam, June2017, Hoole History & Heritage Society
  4. Acknowledgements: Cheshire Record Office for records of Moor Park and Tithe Map Apportionments
  5. Article researched and written by Ralph Earlam, August 2017, Hoole History & Heritage Society
  6. Chester Records Office CRO D3449
  7. Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Morison_Wimperis
  8. Courtesy of Martins Bank Archive
  9. Images © Barclays Ref 0030-0275 Courtesy of Martins Bank Archive
  10. Image © Martins Bank Archive Collections – Robert Montgomery
  11. Acknowledgement - Cheshire Record Office for details of Auction Sale 1860 and for documents about John Anderson
  12. Article researched and written by Ralph Earlam, October 2017, Hoole History & Heritage Society
  13. Chester Records Office CRO 17EDC/5
  14. Chester Record Office CRO ZTCP/8/7
  15. Allerton Hall listed building record
  16. Article researched and written by Ralph Earlam, January 2022, Hoole History & Heritage Society