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Big Houses
#1
On one of my last visits to a Leyland Rotary Club meeting with my father, Allan(he died aged 84 in 20001), we went to Farington Lodge hotel, and I noted the portrait on the stairs of Sir Henry Spurrier dating from when Leyland Motors owned it. Asked one of the lasses there if she knew anything about it, and she said "He was the guy who used to live here." Don't think so! I believe the house was built by a Mr Boardman, one of the original partners in Farington Mill, which set off a train of thought....

As kids, we always used to refer to the stretch of Stanifield Lane between Centurion Way and Lydiate Lane as "along Bashall's". Now it seems that Mr Boardman's partner was a Mr Bashall. Might the house which became the BTR Social Club had belonged to him, I wonder?

Next, Wellington House in Church Road. I remember it as the Motors' engineering apprentices' hostel. But who built it and when? Guess the name puts it at about the time the Duke of Wellington was either beating Napoleon or serving as Queen Victoria's Prime Minister. And what about what has always looked like a gatehouse (or lodge) just up from it - the one with the curved end? Can't have been the lodge for Wellington House, surely, wrong position.

Then further down Church Road on the opposite side was (is) Baldwin Croft. Presumably built by the Baldwin family, who I seem to remember provided eight generations of vicars and must have been well off since I understand they built St Andrew's vicarage, now the centre of Chestnut Court off Worden Lane, where my sister, Jean, lives, and presumably gave it to the church. Seem to remember reading that the family owned the land on which the Motors' South Works was built, too.

I can recall vividly Beechfield (where the posh estate is now), then the home of the Pilkington family who owned Earnshaw Bridge Mill . They sold that to the Motors and moved to Baldwin Croft.

Never went inside it, but I did Westfield, the house the Pilkingtons also owned, and which was demolished along with Wellington House to build Stokes Hall (now also gone, of course). I became friendly with David Pilkington who continued to live there with his mother, brother and sister after their parents were divorced in early 60s and he had to leave Roundhay Preparatory School in Preston and come to Fox Lane instead.

Come to think of it, the Motors were vandals on the quiet, demolishing Westfield, Wellington House and also the home of "Pop" Nixon, once company secretary of both the Motors and the Paint Works (or was it the Leyland Construction Company?). It stuck out into Church Road just before the wall of Wellington House, which is why there is still a kink in the road there. They also (quite unnecessarily, I thought) bought and pulled down the cream house opposite behind high laurel hedges which had been the home of Leyland Contruction chairman Sir Thomas Hargreaves, the hall of which, I believe, was decorated with panelling from some ancient ship or other.

Then, what about the original Wade Hall? I seem to remember seeing a drawing of it once, since it was long gone even when I was tiny. It was more of a manor house, I think, and gave its name to the 1950s council estate off Fox Lane - changed to something else after it got a bad reputation in the 1980s. Wonder who owned that?

Maybe someone from Leyland Historical Society can enlighten me.
CD
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#2
That was really interesting, Colin and am sorry I can't add to your knowledge of some of Leyland's old houses but I do like to hear about the history of old buildings.
When I was looking for information on 'Heald House' where some of my long- ago ancestors used to live I came upon a schedule of Listed buildings and sites in and around Leyland and remember being impressed at how many there are ,from memory over 40, including the line of old boundary fence posts that were mentioned in a previous entry and some of the old step houses.
Cheers
[8D]
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#3
Colin, You have given a very good "Run-down" on the properties in your post.

What we have to consider now is that there are many people no longer with us who could have added a few comments. When I lived at Bent Bridge I had to walk down Church Road in the 1930`s to school in Union Street as it was. Thinking about it, as a five or six year old child I was not really concerned about the big houses on Church Road. Once you passed Windsor Avenue you came to the big stone wall which was the boundary of Wellington House.

We were always told that these were the "sons of gentlemen" whose parents were rich enough to send them to Leylands to become engineers, always called "The Premiums" because their parents paid a premium to Leylands for them to be there.

We looked in awe at them in their "racing cars" as they flashed round the district, envy would be a good word to use.

Years went by, yes, we knew of Bashall`s Woods on the way to Preston on Fishwicks bus at 9 pence return from Bent Bridge, but I never thought that one day it would be where the MOS Factory would be built.

Then it was called after "young Henry" as we knew him, because pre-war his father "old Henry" used to prowl round North Works with his managers. Jerry Finch, Charles Basil Nixon, or (C.B) Mr Liardet, then the young upstarts like Stanley Markland, V.W.Pilkington and Frank Grimshaw came on the scene. Yes, I remember the day when they put the Spurrier heads at the main entrance on Centurian Way, with the notices that in future it would be known as "Spurrier Works", all history now.

As for the other houses you name - I know of them, but I cannot add anything useful to your comments. Perhaps I was part of history, who knows? Good luck with your search anyway.
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#4
Mention of Stanley Markland has set me off on a tangent.

I think he was General Manager at the Motors in the 50s, went to run Standard Triumph when Leyland bought them in the 60s and subsequently took early retirement when the top job went to Donald Stokes instead of him.

There's a story I heard somewhere of his being asked why a putative merger between Leyland and Rolls Royce never came off. He replied: "Well their stuff was too dear for us. Ours was never much dearer than sausages, you know."

He then quoted the price per pound of a Comet, and it wasn't any dearer than susages!
CD
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