Oakwood Hall Oakwood Lane Stockport
Oakwood Hall stands on the edge of a steep scarp above the right bank of the River Goyt, overlooking Marple Dale in an area of open land between Romiley and Marple. The site lies to the south of the Peak Forest Canal (authorised by an Act of Parliament of 1794) and a former cotton mill founded by Ormerod Heyworth, builder of Oakwood Hall, in 1833. Heyworth was a considerable local landowner in the area. He came from Everton in Liverpool and bought the Hyde Bank estate, which included the site later used for Oakwood Hall, in 1833, when he began building Oakwood Mill alongside the canal. Heyworth died in 1851 and the house was offered for sale in 1860 and 1865. In 1868 the hall and estate were sold to Ephraim Hallam M.P. who lived there until his death in 1897. Over the next few decades it changed hands several times and was used variously as a Jesuit seminary and a girls’ approved school. Eventually it was leased to the Kingsmoor School by George Hopwood in 1956. The school closed in 1963. Following the school closure, the Hall faced an uncertain future and began to fall into disrepair. It suffered fire damage and vandalism before being bought by a builder who reduced it to single-storey height in 1976. A swimming pool was installed on the terrace to the west end of the hall. As well as the main house, there was an attached circular orangery or glass house, and a large courtyard block to the north-west providing stables and additional service accommodation. The stable court was demolished about 1976. The original building adopted a free Tudor Gothic style typical of early Victorian romanticism, broadly Elizabethan in inspiration, with a changeful, asymmetrical outline and roofscape busy with spires, gables and chimneys. The tower is a powerful architectural statement, seemingly loosely based on the top of St Botolph’s church in Boston, a favourite architectural exemplar of the day. In Twycross’s view of the building published in 1850 (Chetham’s Library). the terrace is similar in form to that now existing, but the planting on the valley side has since matured, obscuring the designed views over the river valley.
SALE BY AUCTION - All that capital stone-built mansion, called Oakwood Hall, and the outbuilding belonging thereto, together with 50 acres of valuable Freehold land, comprising the gardens, pleasure grounds and meadow and pasture land, all lying within a ring fence, and extending from the Peak Forest Canal to the River Mersey. This compact and desirable estate is situate in the township of Romiley, in the county of Chester, and is distant about four miles from Stockport, three miles from Hyde, four miles from Ashton-under-Lyne and ten miles from Manchester. Oakwood Hall, which was designed and built by Mr E Walters, of Manchester, has been erected in the best and most substantial manner, and contains handsome entrance hall, drawing room, dining room, library, breakfast-room, housekeeper’s room, butler’s pantry, kitchens, nine best bedrooms, dressing rooms, bathroom, water closets, etc, besides three servants’ bedrooms and ample domestic offices. The views of the windings of the river, of the fertile land of Marple Dale and the extensive woods beyond, bounded by the Cheshire and Derbyshire hills obtained from all the southerly rooms, and from the fine terrace in front of the hall, are much and deservedly admired. The outbuildings consist of conservatory, four-stalled stable and large loose box, coach house, harness room, shippon, for six cows, piggeries, etc. There are also a coachman’s residence in the yard, and, at the entrance gates, an excellent lodge. The pleasure grounds are tastefully laid out, and, from the natural beauty of their situation present prospects rarely equalled. The Romiley Station of the Hyde and Compstall Railway, which will be opened in a few months, will be within three minutes’ walk of the lodge gates, and will bring Oakwood Hall within half an hour’s ride of Manchester and fifteen minutes of Ashton-under-Lyne. As an investment the estate is well worth the attention of capitalists, as there are many admirable building sites upon it for first-class residences which need not at all interfere with the privacy of the hall. To a gentleman desirous of occupying his own land, this presents an opportunity seldom met with. The property may be viewed and further particulars obtained from the auctioneers, T M Fisher and Son, Tib Lane, Manchester. [Manchester Guardian 2 June 1860 page 8]
Reference Twycross’s illustrated Mansions of the County Palatine of Cheshire 1850.illustration
Reference Builder 16 March 1872 page 201 - list of works by Edward Walters
Reference Manchester Guardian 2 June 1860 page 8