I went to school near Hough End Hall in the early 80s; I walked past it every day and didn’t really notice it was there.
Then, in summer ’82 I did a washing up job there for a few days… roped in by a friend’s mother. The kitchen was next door to the main function room upstairs. We could hear strains of Soft Cell and The Human League waft through whenever the doors flapped open but we couldn’t see into the main room.
Each evening, I stood for 4 hours or more, up to my elbows in soap suds and crockery, staring at the buckled leaded windows steaming up, and praying for fresh air and last orders. The kitchen was desperately humid… I was sad to see the old building being so abused, although I had no idea how old it was at that point.
Hough End Hall was built in 1596 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I by Sir Nicholas Mosley (1527-1612), when he became Lord of the Manors of Manchester and Withington. The Mosley family were wealthy cloth merchants with businesses in Manchester and London, and in 1599, Nicholas Mosley became London’s Lord Mayor.
Manchester was incorporated as a borough in 1838, but the Mosleys didn’t sell the manorial and market rights to Manchester Corporation until 1845. The Egerton family bought Hough End Hall and removed a grand staircase, installing it at Tatton Hall.
The Mosleys had another family seat in Staffordshire called Rolleston. This is where Sir Oswald Mosley (1896-1980), 6th Baronet of Ancoats, was based when he formed the British Union of Fascists in 1932. The history of the family is confusing because many of the Mosley men were called Nicholas or Oswald… I’ve just realised that Nicholas Road is off Oswald Road in Chorlton! That can’t be a co-incidence!
Hough End Hall has had Grade II* listed building status since 1952, although this doesn’t seem to have helped the building much. This picture apparently shows the house and some of the grounds in 1952:
Hough End Playing Fields on the other side of Mauldeth Road were also originally part of Hough End Hall’s grounds.
According to English Heritage, Grade II* (Grade Two Star) buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest; only 5.5% of listed buildings are Grade II*. Unfortunately Hough End Hall has been ruined by the fact that it’s completely surrounded by modern buildings and a carpark, no thanks to Manchester City Council’s Town Planning Department:
It’s hard to believe that this level of planning neglect was simply down to incompetence. If Manchester City Council had possessed some vision we could have had a genuine historical tourist attraction in Chorlton!
The building was redeveloped as a venue and opened in 2010 but is now standing idle and empty once again.
We studied the Tudors at ‘O’ Level but we never visited Hough End Hall, even though it was only across the road. I wonder if the children from Loreto and Chorlton High ever visit the Tudor house on their doorstep?