The Demise of Glossop Hall.

Glossop Hall

Glossop Hall was not completely demolished until 1960 but its demise started some 36 years earlier. This short article has been written from research into contemporary documents.

Francis Edward, the 2nd Baron Howard of Glossop, died in 1924. With the family facing heavy death duties as a result, coupled with the reduced use of Glossop Hall following World War I, the Glossop Dale Estate was put up for sale.

When it was announced that the estate was to be sold, Glossop Council considered buying it in its entirety, to run as a going concern in order to provide income for the town. A report in the Glossop Advertiser in 1925 explained that the Council was prevented from doing so by the fact that it (in common with other municipal corporations) had no power to hold land except for some purpose authorised by the statute which governed it. There was no time available to try to obtain the necessary powers from Parliament so the idea had to be shelved. Lord Howard then sold the estate to a private individual who decided to divide the estate into several lots and sell it by auction.

In the issue of 6 March 1925 the Advertiser reported that sitting tenants were to be given the chance to buy their holdings before the auction was held. The council did buy some parts of the estate but, on 4 June 1925, rejected an offer by the then owner to buy the Hall and grounds as, at that time, they could see no purpose which would meet the statutory requirement. The owners contacted Derbyshire County Council, which inspected the Hall with a view to using it for a grammar school, but the offer was rejected.

The auction of the lots that tenants did not purchase was held on 16 and 17 September 1925 but neither the Hall nor its grounds managed to sell. The Hall (Lot 228) was withdrawn at £8,500 and the grounds (Lot 230) at £7,000.

In July 1926 the owners made another offer to Glossop Council, to sell them the Hall and grounds, the rights to Glossop and Hadfield water supplies and other lands. Negotiations ended with agreement of a purchase price of £16,500, to also include the land on which Bankswood Park was developed. The Council bought the Hall, with the intention of letting it out, to prevent its threatened demolition. The grounds were, of course, converted into Manor Park.

Glossop Hall stable block October 1927
A view of the stable yard at Glossop Hall in October 1927, when the Hall was being converted for Kingsmoor School.
The gentleman with the car is thought to be George Frederick Buck of Marple, a retired civil engineer, who managed
the various contractors who were upgrading the drains, water supply, electric lighting, sanitary fittings and decoration.
The cost of the work was about £2,500.

Glossop Council was able to lease the Hall to Kingsmoor School Ltd. in 1927. Over the years, the Kingsmoor lease was extended and the school was allowed to make various alterations and extensions. In March 1946, with the lease not long from expiring, the Council agreed to extend the lease for a further three years and to consider selling the premises to the school governors. The sub-committee formed for that purpose reported back on 12 May 1948, recommending that the premises be sold or offered on a 99 year lease at £350 per annum (both subject to certain restrictive covenants). In October 1948 the governors wrote back saying they were willing to go ahead with the purchase and the council requested the necessary consent from the Ministry of Health. In January 1949 the Ministry requested further information, which was supplied, and consent was received in August 1949. The sale, for £9,000, was effected on 31 October 1949. The proceeds of the sale were credited to the Council's Sinking Fund.

The Council's Finance & Rating Committee meeting on 31 May 1956 received two letters:
1. Dated 10 May 1956, from Messrs. Walls, Johnston and Company, on behalf of The Stockport Atlas Building Society, stating that, as Kingsmoor School, Limited, had gone into voluntary liquidation, their clients would presumably have to sell Glossop Hall in order to realise their security, and giving the Corporation the option to rent or purchase the premises within six months from the date of the letter; and
2. Dated the 22 May 1956, from Mr. H. W. Abbott appealing to the Council seriously to consider exercising their option to lease, and, in turn, to rent the premises to a properly constituted Parents’ Association on terms to be arranged.
The Committee resolved that the Emergency Sub-Committee be appointed to discuss the matter with representatives of the parents.

The Committee's meeting the following month, received a report on a meeting which had taken place on 2nd June 1956, and a letter dated 6 June, 1956, from Mr. Abbott confirming the Parents’ Association’s aim to continue Kingsmoor School on the basis of a day school and asking the Corporation to exercise their option to rent Glossop Hall from the present owners and in turn grant a tenancy to a new Association to be properly constituted.
The Committee resolved that the option to rent or re-purchase Glossop Hall not be exercised and that the Town Clerk be instructed to inform the Association and the owners’ Solicitors accordingly.
The decision was confirmed by the full Council on 27 June 1956.

The Council's General Purposes Committee of 12 September 1956 instructed the Town Clerk to inform the Mortgagees of Kingsmoor School that, while the Council were unable to exercise their option to rent or re-purchase Glossop Hall, they would be very happy to assist them in preventing the Hall from falling into decay. The October meeting of the Committee received a report that security staff were watching Glossop Hall to ensure that nothing was stolen from the premises.

The Council's Housing Committee of 8 October 1956 received a letter dated 6 October 1956, from Messrs. Walls, Johnston and Company stating it was the present intention of the Mortgagees of Glossop Hall to instruct a firm of Estate Agents to offer the whole of the land and premises in one lot for sale by public auction and, in the event of the whole of the property not being disposed of, to offer at the same auction sale certain plots of land fronting to Norfolk Street and Hall Meadow Road as building plots, and asking whether the Council would give sympathetic consideration to any application by the Mortgagees or purchasers for permission to erect private houses on the plots.
After consultation with the Area Planning Officer and County Surveyor the Council agreed to the land being used for housing but with requirements for preservation of some of the trees there.

The Glossop Chronicle of 31 May 1957 reported that, rather than see the building fall into gradual decay, The Stockport Atlas Building Society had confirmed the decision to demolish Glossop Hall and build housing on the site. The demolition, and the building of the new dwellings, took place over the following three or four years.

Many people in the years since have expressed regret that the Hall could not be saved but the sad fact is that the cost of doing so was unviable. As far back as 1924 the Hall proved difficult to let or sell and if it had not been for the fact that the new Kingsmoor School was looking for a home it would probably have been demolished far earlier. It is certainly untrue to claim that the Kingsmoor move allowed Glossop Council to let the Hall fall in to disrepair and sell it off to developers.

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Last updated: 29 December 2022