When Betty Hassall bought Hoole Bank House in 1969 the house was in a state of disrepair and far from the plush family home it had been at the turn of the C20th. Now, nearly 50 years later Mrs Hassall would have a tough time recognising The Hammond campus. Hoole Bank has been the home of all divisions of The Hammond  since the middle of the 1990s and now boasts a theatre complex and ten dance and drama studios. A new block of studios in the old walled garden in currently being built.

Before the arrival of Mrs Hassall and The Hammond Hoole Bank House had a long and varied history. As part of the centenary research we have put together the following timeline – this is a work in progress and will continue to be added too.

Hoole Bank House today.

C18th   First Hoole Bank House is built – date unknown. This house was situated on the corner of Picton Gorse Lane and Mannings Lane.

1785    A Samuel Cooper esq. is living at Hoole Bank

1799    Samuel Cooper’s property is advertised for sale consisting of Lot 1. The messuage, outbuildings, garden, orchard, and park of a close. Lot 2. The large Mill Field. Lot 3. The lower Mill Field, Lot 4. The Pavement croft.

1800    Robert Brittain, woollen draper and tailor, now owns Hoole Bank.

1828    Robert Brittain dies and the estate is inherited by his son Robert Brittain, also a woollen draper and tailor.

1841    Census: Robert Brittain is listed as living in Hoole Bank House with his sister Ann and nephew William, as well as two male servants and four female servants.

1846    Hoole Bank House is advertised to be let, for a term of years. ‘The House contains dining and drawing rooms, each 30 feet by 19 feet, breakfast room, six bed rooms, one good dressing room, and three servants’ bedrooms. There are three good stables, two coach-houses, and other usual outbuildings, a walled garden, hot-house, extensive pleasure grounds, and 33 acres of good land.’

1847    Peter Ewart, who worked for the East India Company, and his family are now leasing Hoole Bank.

1851    Census: Peter Ewart, his wife and two sons and his brother are living in the house. Also a Butler, Coachman, Cook, Nurse, Housemaid, Laundry Maid, Under-Nurse and Kitchen Maid.

1858    Hoole Bank Estate is advertised for auction 24th April, 1858 by the Brittain estate.

1860    Hoole Bank Estate is now owned by Peter Ewart. He pulls down the old house and builds the current house set back from the road.

1861    Census: Peter Ewart, his wife and two sons and a daughter. As well as a Governess, Ladies’ Maid, Domestic Cook, House Maid, Kitchen Maid and House Servant – more servants are listed in the estate cottages.

1869 Hoole Bank

1878    Hoole Bank estate is advertised for Auction.

1878    Robert Ashton buys the estate for £17,500.

1881    Census: Hoole Bank is occupied by a Housekeeper, two Housemaids and a Scullery Maid – with more servants listed in the estate cottages.

1885    Hoole bank estate is now leased by Mr Charles Wigg, an alkali manufacturer, and his wife.

1888    Charles Wigg now owns the estate.

1899    Charles Wigg dies and a five day auction is held to sell off the house and contents. The estate is bought by George Hayes and his wife Eva for £12,500.

The auction of Hoole Bank Estate in 1899. Cheshire Archive.

1900s   The Hayes renovate the house extending the far right wing to three stories.

1901    Census: George Hayes, his wife Eva and two sons (Harry Urmson Hayes and Eric Gerald Hayes) as well as a work colleague, also a Butler, two Nurses, two Housemaids, a Footman, Kitchen Maid, General Maid as well as more servants listed in the estate cottages.

1908 Map of Hoole Bank Estate. Note the maze in the garden of Hoole Bank.

1911    Census: George and Eva Hayes appear to be living in Scotland while Harry and Eric are away at school – the house is occupied by a Cook, three Housemaids, a Parlour Maid, Kitchen Maid and Footman. In a separate apartment are the Butler and his wife and children. There is also a gardener, his wife and children are living in an estate cottage.

1914    Hoole Bank Estate is advertised for sale – including 70 acres and seven cottages.

1914    In August George Hayes offers the house as a Red Cross Convalescent Hospital.

Soldiers at Hoole Bank Red Cross Hospital.

1915    In late October the first party of British and Belgian soldiers arrive at Hoole Bank House Hospital.

1917    The ‘Whizz-Bang Pierrot Troupe’ perform in aid of Hoole Bank Red Cross Hospital, with new dances choreographed by Mrs Broom and Miss Irene Hammond.

1919    In May, Hoole Bank Red Cross Hospital closes after treating over 1200 soldiers.

1920    Hoole Bank House is donated to the National Institute of the Blind.

1921    On the 4th of November Hoole Bank House is officially opened as a guest house for the National Institute of the Blind.

The back view of Hoole Bank House in 1921. The wing to the left was demolished after WWII.
The dinning room at Hoole Bank in 1921. This is now the staff room.

1928    The Guest House appears to have closed.

1937    Hoole Bank Estate is sold in two lots. Lot 1. House with entrance hall, four reception rooms, billiards rooms, 14 bedrooms, bathrooms, and all conveniences, including central heating, main water, electric light, garages, gymnasium, washhouse, cottage etc., and delightful wooded grounds and garden. 6 acres.’

Edward Shelton Knowles buys the house and lets it out.

1942    In January 1942 the house is advertised for let for £175 a year.

1942    The house is occupied by US Army Engineers from 1942 -1944, three army huts are built in the grounds.

1945    The ATS (The Auxiliary Territorial Service) are stationed at Hoole Bank.

1952    The House is sold to the YHA for £6000. The Sheilings (old stable block) is retained for Robert George Knowles.

Hoole Bank Youth Hostel

1962    YHA sold Hoole Bank House to Mr Price for £5000. The house opens as Hoole Bank House School.

1969    The school closes and Hoole Bank is bought by Betty Hassall – she also purchases the Sheilings (£350) – now where Garden House is. Many students from the closed Hoole Bank House School join The Hammond as day girls.