Hough End Hall

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?

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5 Comments

  1. A*1950’s Childhood (17)Hough end the farm
    ////////////////////////////////////////
    By David Hulson( St Margaret’s school reunion moss side)

    The late 50’s
    You know them times as a kid ,you’re playing with your mates on a hot summer day ,then you decide to go to the park ,well my self ,the dobbins boys ,Alan and Eric ,
    we started in Moss Side and ended up at the Farm at Hough End.
    The Farm had been abandoned for many years, occasionally you would see a farmer ,and if he saw you would chase you off ,all the outbuildings were still there,
    And it stood alone with a small brook in the fields behind the main house and there was also a rail line with steps going down from the main road
    locally the kids called these the 29 steps as that was the number of the steps Down to ground level from the main road “actually when I think back there was no more than- -18 or 19 steps ,but 29 steps sounds better”
    We had been playing for a while in the farm yard near the duck pond before we entered the old farm house, the big door was open ,and the interior was tatty with holes in the wall and the place smelt of dampness and decay .
    The only stairs I remember were to the left of the heavy wood front door and these curved and panelled stairs led to the upper floor ,half way up the stairs on the left there was a priest hole a small but cramped space , upstairs was even worse more most of the roof and flooring had gone and there was also damage to walls ,fireplaces ,windows and water ran down the walls as some of the slates were missing, in fact the place was even to dangerous for us to play in .
    On leaving the building we could smell burning coming from the field behind the Farm ,on going around to the back of the building we saw that the long grass was on fire, for the buildings sake ,we went looking for a house on the bridge that had telephone wires going to it as a House telephones were still a rare thing ,we found a house and asked them to phone the fire department .
    We sat on the farm wall and waited for the fire department to come , eventually they arrived and put out the fire ,then the police arrived and tried to blame us for setting the field alight , there’s gratitude for you.

    The next time I entered that building was thirty plus years later ,and it was the day that I got married and had our reception there.

    And as an adult who drives past Hough End Hall , I think how sad that a building like this has been destroyed, yes it’s still there ,but to me , it’s spirit has gone ,
    You can’t see the whole of the building now as its wedged in between a school and offices blocks ,the building is only a memory of its former glory .

    • Hi dave – thanks for this – I think we still called those steps ‘the 29 steps’ in the 70s and 80s – I’d completely forgotten.

  2. Jayne Doe

    hey, great article, beautiful building. Any ideas on what’s going on with Hough End Hall these days?

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