Hough End Hall, Hough End Hall Academy and the future of the Friends of Hough End Hall.

Our group, the Friends of Hough End Hall was established in 2013 to bring the then vacant Hough End Hall back into use, emphasising its heritage value and its potential as a hub for the local community. We did a lot of work on several fronts:

  • Getting the building listed as an “asset of community value” which meant a period during which its sale was prevented, giving the community a chance to plan and bid for it.

  • Raising awareness locally and consulting with the local community over the future use of the Hall.

  • Obtaining a small grant to help work up our proposals, which included incorporation as a charitable company, engaging an architect, developing a business plan and making further grant applications.

  • Lobbying Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) (the owner) and the Treasury (part owner of RBS) to ensure that the building did not fall into the wrong hands.

  • Applying for funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to both restore the building and bring it into effective community use.

  • Conducted other fund-raising activity.

  • Carried out some of the research and the illustrations which led to the publication of our book, Hough End Hall: The Story (available from the Bookshop and the Library in Chorlton).

Our plan was for the building to be a community hub and to become self-financing after an initial restoration and start-up period. To this end we worked with a local charitable institution towards a joint project to buy the Hall and achieve this, but sadly this fell through.

In Summer, 2015, the building was sold by RBS to a local group who planned to run the Hall as Hough End Academy, for a health promotion programme orientated largely towards the South Asian community. Dr Pasha, who has led this project, first made enquiries of ourselves before approaching RBS: it was our campaign that helped raise awareness of the building among potential buyers, helping RBS (and the public purse) dispose of the building.

In October, we published the following statement on behalf of the new owners:

The building is now owned by a local charity and will be called ‘Hough End Hall Academy’. It will be used for educational purposes. The Academy will be responsible for preserving, protecting, and restoring the building and its rich history. Hough End Hall Academy are making their official website and request the community to use it for future information and suggestions. In the meanwhile, suggestions are welcome and can be given in the Suggestion Box that will be arranged to be placed outside the building. The Academy is preparing the building and will invite the community as soon as the building is in a presentable condition.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any further information.”

In January we had a group to group meeting which was very friendly. We believe that, although it was not the project we had in mind, the Hough End Hall Academy project is a worthwhile one, well resourced and orientated to meeting a community need: one of the things we wanted to see happen.

We are less confident about the heritage dimension: it does not appear to be a major interest of the Academy, although they did express interest in co-operating with some of our members on things like a heritage display within the building. However, we do not know whether the responsibilities of the owners of owning and maintaining a Grade 2* listed building were fully understood. Since then we have had only limited contact with the group. They appear to have been faced with some challenges with the fabric of the building, so their time-scales for establishing the project will be longer than originally anticipated. So far there does not appear to be a website or other information publicly available.

We are aware that there has been some speculation in the local community about what the new users are doing, including a rumour that it is, or will be a mosque. We have been told that this is not the case: there is a prayer room within the building, but we have been informed that the function of the building is to be a health education centre.

Friends of Hough End Hall will continue to maintain a watching brief over the building. Our concern is still that this asset, with so many local memories, is made available for the benefit of the community, and that its heritage value is preserved and promoted. However, since we will not be responsible for the building ourselves, our project will run at a lower level. We are exploring the possibility of erecting a public information board as a lasting source of infomriation about the Hall. We are likely to wind up the charitable company but continue in existence as an unincorporated community association. We will also remain available to assist the current owners where possible and where this role is consistent with our “watchdog” function.

Hough End Hall has a new owner

Yes, at last the Hall has a new owner, a local group that is keen for the Hall to be of use to the local community.   We have met them briefly and will be discussing further what possibilities there might be.  They have only just taken possession and are concentrating on immediate repair work before it can be used.  We remain optimistic that the Hall will be accessible for community groups.

They have asked us to share the following announcement:

“The building is now owned by a local charity and will be called ‘Hough End Hall Academy’. It will be used for educational purposes. The Academy will be responsible for preserving, protecting, and restoring the building and its rich history. Hough End Hall Academy are making their official website and request the community to use it for future information and suggestions. In the meanwhile, suggestions are welcome and can be given in the Suggestion Box that will be arranged to be placed outside the building. The Academy is preparing the building and will invite the community as soon as the building is in a presentable condition.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any further information.”

 

We will provide more information here as soon as we have it.

Latest news about Hough End Hall – it’s being sold.

We have just heard that RBS have placed the Hall ‘under offer’. We do not know who has made the offer but RBS have assured us they have told the buyers about us. We will have to wait until we are contacted or the information about the new owners is made public before we can open a conversation with them.   Read more in our Bulletin 11, September 2015 which also has news about the book, Hough End Hall – The Story.

CLick for the pdf

 

Hough End Hall: The Story – you can buy it online or locally

the bookThe book, Hough End Hall, The Story by Andrew Simpson and Peter Topping, was successfully launched earlier this month at the Chorlton Arts Festival.  It tells the story of the Hall and that of the people who lived and worked there.  That’s four centuries from when it was the new home of Sir Nicholas Mosley, through its 250 years as a farmhouse, its brief spell as a restaurant and right up to our present campaign to buy it and convert it into community use.

You can buy it here for just £14.99 plus £2.80 postage (£5.30 overseas).  Click the link below to purchase online, or see below for local outlets.

 

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards Including postage to UK.

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards Including overseas postage.

You can also buy the book, in person, at Chorlton Bookshop on Wilbraham Road, or Chorlton Library, on Manchester Road.

 

HOUGH END HALL: THE STORY. Exhibition, Film and Book Launch

HOUGH END HALL: THE STORY   wps_clip_image2102518862
Andrew Simpson & Peter Topping
The Exhibition, The Book, The Film,
The Walk and Talk.
Exhibition and Film at The Lloyds Hotel 15th to 24th May including.
Book Launch 7.30pm at The Lloyds Hotel 16th May.
The Walk and Talk, from Hough End Hall
starts 1.00pm 17th and 24th May.

A packed meeting about the Hall

Yesterday, Saturday 28 March, we held a public meeting to update our supporters on the progress made by the campaign and the current position.  Some 40 people attended the meeting in the community room at Chorlton Library.IMG_20150328_143340

Carolyn Kagan, secretary of the Friends of Hough End Hall gives the latest news.

Here is a summary of what we said.

Progress of the Sale of the Hall

The Friends of Hough End Hall had to withdraw from the bidding process after being unsuccessful in the bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund. RBS, the Hall’s owner, then set a deadline for bids from other interested parties to be submitted.

Not long before the deadline we were contacted by an agent for a charitable foundation endowed by a prominent and well respected entrepreneur who wanted to submit a bid for the Hall, incorporating the community interests and working with the Friends of Hough End Hall.

We were obviously delighted with this and after some discussions and meetings agreed to be a part of this bid, which was duly submitted. Full details of how any partnership arrangements would work are still to be worked out but we can assure you we are approaching this with careful risk analyses – particularly as far as any financial commitments might be concerned!

RBS received and reviewed all the bids and decided in January to work with three bidders (of which ‘our’ charitable foundation was one) as they refined their bids, clarifying any conditions they had put alongside their offers.

The last we heard (just before our public meeting on March 28th) was that RBS was commissioning a full condition survey with any associated specialist surveys needed (such as timber surveys) to give to the prospective bidders, to help speed up the process.

For us, this is a little frustrating as we had reached this point last August, by which time we had already got a condition survey completed and had professional costings of the repairs and restoration needed for the Hall. Had RBS agreed to work with us without the messiness of other bidders, we could have been a lot further forward by now!

So… we still do not know what role we will have in the event of the Hall eventually being sold. We hope the charitable foundation will be successful and that we will be able to form a constrictive partnership for the future and ensure the Hall is made available for local people.

Read more in our Bulletin no. 10,  March 2015

There was a lot of interest at the meeting with people (including local politicians) keen that the Hall really does become an asset for all the community while preserving its heritage value.

The meeting also heard from Andrew Simpson and Peter Topping about the book they plan to publish in May.  It will be a history of the Hall, focussing not just on the wealthy people who built and owned the Hall, but also on the many people who have been part of its local community.

Thanks to everyone who turned out, giving us such a great show of community support for the efforts of the Friends of Hough End Hall.  Whatever happens with the sale of the Hall we will continue to work towards its preservation as a heritage and community asset.

Paintings of Hough End Hall just before the Great War

We have just received the kind gift of two watercolour paintings from Pamela Woosey, of Ramsbottom.  They were painted by her grandfather, A. Victor Strange, in 1913 and 1914.
Pamela remembers coming down to the Hall by tram from her home in Prestwich.
The paintings give an idea of the Hall in its still rural setting just before the Great War of 1914-18.
In this picture, we see the Hall from the South side, from what is now Mauldeth Road West, looking towards Chorlton Park with its trees.

A. Victor Strange, Hough End Hall from the South, 1913.

A. Victor Strange, Hough End Hall from the South, 1913.

In the second picture, we see the garden of the Hall from the other side.  The man appears to be cutting the grass with a scythe.  The outbuildings have long disappeared, and the garden wall is now where the monstrosity of Mauldeth House stands.

A. Victor Strange, Mauldeth House from the North, 1914.

A. Victor Strange, Hough End Hall from the North, 1914.

Thank you Pamela for this interesting insight into the history of the Hall.

Crowdfunding: we missed our target but are still taking donations.

Thank you to those who made generous pledges for the Heritage Walk and exhibition resources to present and explain Manchester’s historic Tudor manor house, Hough End Hall, as part of our plan to bring it into community use. The crowdfunding deadline was 31st January.

Unfortunately we we did not meet what was a very ambitious target, so you will not be billed for your pledge.

We were not successful this time in winning a very large Heritage Lottery grant for purchase, renovation and initial running costs for the Hall.

The more positive news is we are pursuing other possibilities – watch this space for news in the next week or so.

In lieu of the pledge you have made we would ask you to give a donation to help fund our campaign. We can still offer the same scale of “rewards” as before for donations received by Feb 28, 2015. To donate, follow this link for instructions on donating by cheque or online.