Listed Buildings -> Darland Hall

(Information originally supplied by Wrexham County Borough Council Planning Office dated 18/10/96)

Darland Hall   Grade II

Click here to view Darland Hall

Location: Darland   Postcode: LL12 0BA   Street: Darland Lane   Side of Street: S

Located to the south of Darland Lane approximately 1km off the B5445 Chester Road, set back in its own garden.
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History

Multi-period small country house and extended from earlier cottage of 1636 to the south-west now attached to the Hall. Said to have originated as a late C16 hall built for a goldsmith of Chester.

Held by a Mr Maddock from 1742 until 1786 when the Topham family, who owned and developed Aintree racecourse, acquired the property until 1918. It is believed that they developed much of the Hall to be the building it is today and the surrounding developments of the pond, the pergola and gazebo to the rear garden, Darland Hall Farm and the farm buildings attached to the western end of the Hall and Cottage.

Sold by the Duckworth family in 1955 and divided into four flats though substantially unaltered by division as much of the Hall remains in single occupancy with three flats to the western end.

Exterior

Three storeys, rendered brick under pitched slate roof. String course divides storeys to gabled front elevation. Asymmetrically located front door with single height stone Ionic portico with bracketed cornice. Two large bay windows to rear elevation.

Recent single storey flat roofed extension to the eastern end connects with former Roman Catholic chapel now in seperate ownership and converted to residential use as part of Darland Hey.

To the western end, and at right angles to the principal facade is a former stable block to an earlier building of rendered brick, with string course to eastern elevation and with a date stone inscribed 'NM 1769' placed under the keystone of a filled in carriage entrance. Hipped slate roof.

To the rear of the stable block is the cottage with date stone inscribed 'IA 1636 IA' with farm buildings to the west, the nearest section having been converted to residential use.

Interior

Pine 'veneer' half panelling to the entrance hall from which rises a fine early C19 staircase, rising full height with turned balusters and S-shaped tread ends.

Retains many High Victorian fireplaces, original six-panelled doors and plain plaster cornices.

Listed Description

Listed for its special interest as a multi-period house, with C17 origins, and retaining good C19 interior details.

 

Comments

1 #1 steveA commented on May 23 2005 18:25:37
This received recently from Jon King:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Darland Hall.

I was very much interested in your article Darland Hall, which has fond memories as it was my home for some 5-6 years in the mid eighties.

Prior to the Duckworth's owning the property, and after the Topsham's, ownership during the war was to a man by the name of Dudley Beck, once owner of the fashionable Tea Rooms and Bar/Club "Quaintways", Northgate Street Chester. During the war Dudley Beck vacated the Hall to allow an American Tank regiment to be stationed there. During which time a young Miss Josie Duckworth, whose family owned a Hall in Singret, Gresford, became a staff driver and regular visitor to what would be her future home. Incidentally looking from the top floor down on to the front lawn, during a dry summer the outline of a large fuel tank thought to have been left by the Americans can observed.

After the war Dudley Beck was compensated for the lone of his home, and with that money the hall, previously brick, was rendered and painted as you see today.

Later 1955(?) Miss Josie Duckworth's Mother purchased Darland Hall, Farm, and surrounding land. From memory talking to Josie, the Farm, Chauffeurs Cottage, along with the lake and Darland Cottage were sold off. Later the tennis courts behind Darland Cottage where sold to an architect, and when Josie's mother died the Hall was divided. As you rightfully note, the left hand side of the property includes access to all three floors, on the far left the chapel built by the Topsham's is a separate dwelling. The right hand side was split into three flats, the bottom being occupied by Miss Josie Duckorth. On the very far right attached to the Hall is the "Cottage" which was the oldest part of the Hall and at some point was also the Halls larder.

Around the late seventies early eighties land was sold between the Hall and Chauffeurs Cottage to Mike Jenkinson (Office Business Equipment - Chester & Queensferry) who built "Darland House", and just after the remaining stables were also sold and converted into a further dwelling.

I occupied the top flat which was once the nursery, the lounge was huge and I'm told that once contained a large indoor helter-skelter. The remaining rooms where for the Nanny, Butler, storage, and Silverware. It was from here that in the mid eighties "Darland Studio" was created, a Wedding, Portrait, & Commercial Photographic Studio by Bill Moore and myself, later to move to the Old Telephone Exchange in Station road. The flat was well proportioned and once accommodated a party for 120 people, of which I'm still reminded of some 20 years on, happy days!

Miss Josie Duckworth was a lovely, kind, and a very interesting person. Not many people know that she was in fact an America, born in Virginia to a wealthy family of cotton producers. It was Josie's father who moved to Liverpool to set up warehouses in the UK for exporting cotton. Her interests were gardening among other things, and situated to the rear of the rose garden is an Oak tree planted by Josie some 50 years ago.

Josie left the Hall around 2001 to a property in Hillock Lane, Gresford.

Josie - Died 2003.

Thank you for your web page, it's reminded me of one of the happiest times of my life.

Yours Sincerely.

Jon King.
Dudleston Heath.
Shropshire.
1 #2 steveA commented on May 23 2005 18:30:37
Thanks for the information Jon, we obviously brought back few memories
1 #3 steveA commented on November 05 2005 14:37:09
The 3 surviving children of Joan and Dudley Beck recently sent the following:

All three of us are very pleased to have discovered your site which brings back many memories and we would like to share our recollections of living at Darland Hall from the end of the Second World War until 1955.

We are the three surviving children of Joan and Dudley Beck - our brother Michael died in 1987. Our parents purchased Darland before the war and loaned it to the American army for the duration thereof. The first major task on its return to a family home was a massive painting job and one our first memories is of many long ladders and lots of whitewash.

Darland was a magical place for us children. The top floor was often rather noisy because in addition to containing the nursery it also housed our father's photography room and every time he turned on a tap the plumbing made a dreadful banging. Our father was President of the Ayrshire Society and he must have taken a photograph of every one of his cows and they all looked the same to us!

The ballroom - which had been used as a chapel - was a useful place. Here we had plenty of room for table tennis and learning to ride bikes before being let loose outside. Apparently the passage leading from this room to the library was haunted but we personally didn't seen any ghosts.

Christmas was always a special time. We would have an enormous tree in the hall with the lovely staircase as a backdrop, and local carol singers would gather round the tree each year and really enjoy themselves.

Unfortunately in 1955 family circumstances necessitated a move to another part of the country but not before our parents made a great contribution to the Rossett/Chester area. They were remarkable people.

Our father died in 1972 and our mother in 2004.
Darland gave us some of the happiest times of our lives and is still missed.

Yours sincerely

Andrea Bryer Ash
Dudley Beck Jr.
Lyn Ryder

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