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#291363 - 11th Feb 2009 3:19pm Mansions Of Wallasey : Wellington Road Villas

Cliff Villa

In 1833 land was up for Sale for the building of villas. The first was built by William Rowson. In 1836 William paid 996. 2/- for six parcels of land at the west end of the estate, measuring in total 34,000 square yards. Here he built the house 'Cliff Villa'. It was a single storey house with a brick design and a stucco finish. The design of the property was based on 'Longwood House', where Napoleon lived whilst exiled on St. Helena.

William died in 1863 and his wife a year later. As there was no children the house was passed on by his will to his nephew, Mr G Rowson Berry, and he remained living at 'Cliff Villa' until his death in 1874.

The estate went through various hands until the Corporation purchased 'Cliff Villa' for 9,000 in 1926 who established an aquarium. In 1931, the Guide Dogs For The Blind Committee held a meeting at the house and in 1934 the 'Guide Dogs For The Blind Association' was formed. They were allowed the use of a single room by the Corporation but soon afterwards the whole of the house and grounds were made available to them and they remained there until the outbreak of World War II when the army moved in.

The house received heavy damage in an air raid and was subsequently demolished in 1960. As is generally known, the two large block of flats now standing in the grounds are known as 'The Cliff'.

Rock Villa

In 1837 William Rowson sold off one of his portions of land, amounting to 2,120 square miles and adjacent to 'Cliff Villa', to Peter Greenall. Brewer, of St.Helens.

It is not known if Rowson or Greenall built this house on the land but right from the start it was known as 'Rock Villa' and it is, of course, still standing today.

Peter Greenall used the house as a summer residence. His grandfather was Thomas Greenall, who founded 'Greenall Whitley's St. Helens Brewery ' in 1762. Peter married Eleanor Pilkington in 1821 who was the daughter of Dr William Pilkington.

In 1826 Peter formed a partnership with William Pilkington and formed 'St.Helen's Crown Glass Company', now known as 'Pilkington's Group'. Due to commitments to the brewery Peter was forced to sell his shares in 1839.

On the 18th September 1845 Peter Greenall died of a stroke. He was commemorated by naming a street after him but later it was renamed as Alexandra Road.

The property was occupied by a variety of tenants but in 1875 marked the arrival of the Peers Family, more notably James Peers, who was a Cotton-Broker. He was later to persuade the local board to purchase Central Park after the death of Harold Littledale in 1889. He also went on to demolish the mill on the Breck and replacing it with a residence which was well known for eighty years as 'Millthwaite'.

The reign of the Peers family at 'Rock Villa' ended after the finish of the First World War. The next occupant being Mr C.R Marples, a Cotton-Broker,, who lived there for some years to be followed by Pat Ahern, a Wallasey commission agent, and then the Wallasey Sea Cadets who made the house as their headquarters for awhile. In 1959 'Rock Villa' was purchased by the architect Mr Norman Kingdom which included the caves under the dwelling which were formed out of the soft stone of the Red and Yellow Noses. Access to these caves, which still exist, was from the shore but the promenade was built so blocking the entrance. The caves can only be accessed via a manhole in the 'Rock Villa' garden.

The house itself originally had gothic features but owing to past neglect and some war damage all of these have been lost and replaced with more modern styles which have altered its character.

Ewart Villas

Still standing today next to 'Rock Villa' are 2 large semi-detached houses, officially known as 'Ewart Villas', and now numbered 50, 52 and 54 Wellington Road but which have borne various other names during their lives, such as 'Turf Moor', 'Brodawel', 'The Rocks', 'Yellow Nose House', 'Lyndhurst' and so on.

There were many occupants over the years, one of the better known was William Rathbone VI (1819 - 1902) who lived in one of the houses in the 1860's. He used the villa as a summer residence as his main home was 'Greenbank' in Sefton Park, Liverpool. William was a partner in the great Liverpool business-house of Rathbone Bros & Co and its associated firm of grain merchants Ross T.Smyth & Co, both still in business today.

The care of his dying first wife in 1859, Lucretia, by a nurse, prompted him to campaign for a system of district nursing to enable the poor to benefit from similar care. The involvement of Florence Nightingale led to a close friendship. In 1862, the Liverpool Training School and Home for Nurses was established, from which basis a district nursing system was implemented in Liverpool through the 1860s and spread throughout the country. His involvement with this scheme also made him aware of the poor state of the workhouse hospitals, and he did much to assist in the reform of nursing in workhouses.

William Rathbone died in 1902 at the age of 83. William's daughter, Eleanor Rathbone, born in 1872, was the famous social worker and member of Parliament for the independent party 'Combined Universities' from 1929 until her death in 1946.

There have been owners of the villas but overall the buildings have hardly changed in the past 160 years apart from one or two windows. The west half of the villas has today been divided into two dwellings and the east half is now in use as a Nursing Home.

Ewart House

As part of the transaction entered into with John Penkett in 1832, James Atherton purchased for his own use approximately 9,000 square yards of land in 1836. at the corner of Wellington Road and Portland Street, and on it built himself a dwelling.

The house was not the most attractive building. It was built in ashlar in an Italianate style with an asymmetrical plan. The house had moulded string courses denoting floor levels, canopies with brackets over the window openings which had a small panel sash frames and an unimposing front entrance. When viewed from Wellington Road the house was two storey high with a single storey side extension and with a small off centre section rising to a third floor which gave access on to a flat roof having a pierced balustrade. It seemed to be built in "steps and stairs". The seaward elevation fared no better having a stepped front with the most projecting sections adored with a large bay window, For the founder of New Brighton and the developer of Everton it could have been more appealing.

One of the problems of the site were the contours of the rock formation which could have poised difficulties with the layout of the dwelling but not affect the look of it. These difficulties presented themselves again when the site was demolished 100 years later.

There is some doubt as to the original name of the building, but two years later, in 1838, James Atherton died, leaving the property to his widow, Elizabeth, who the following year sold it to James Christopher Ewart, partner in a prosperous Liverpool firm of merchants, 'Ewart, Myers & Co', he renamed the house 'Ewart House'. a title which remained until 1934.

Joseph Ewart's father, William Ewart, was a long time friend of John Gladstone. When John Gladstone's wife had their fourth son he christened the child 'William Ewart Gladstone' as a tribute to his fathers great friend. William Ewart Gladstone subsequently became Prime Minister.

Joseph died on the 12th December 1868 at the age of 68 when he succumbed to fever.

In 1873 the house was sold to the 'Blue Funnel Line' founder, William James Lamport. Mr Lamport had actually lived next door at 'Yellow Noses House' but died a year later after the move. The house was then acquired by Frederic North and he lived at 'Ewart House' until his death at the age of 78 in 1910. He left 100,000 to charity including money left to Wallasey Churches - including 6,000 for the opening of St. James Church Hall. He is commemorated by North Drive. Mrs North remained at the house until 1920 when the property was sold to by the 'North Trustees' to Mr J.F.Wood - a well known Liverpool business man. He was the last private owner when he sold the house to the Corporation who in turn approved plans for the erection of the block of flats known as 'Portland Court' and although it is not certain when the house was actually demolished it must of have been very soon afterwards.

With its departure went an interesting survivor of the early History of New Brighton.

Horton Villa

In 1835 a further portion of the New Brighton Development changed hands, when Reginald Hargreaves, a Cotton Spinner from Burnley, purchased what was then to be 962 square yards of the lower corner of Wellington Road and Portland Street, at a cost of 336. 14/- (7/- per square yard), On this land he built a house which he called 'Horton Villa', a name that remained unchanged until the end of the century. Although there is a mention of a family named "Stuart" (possible housekeeper) living in the house in 1841, Hargreaves remained the owner and principle occupant until his death in 1853, when his trustees sold the property to Mr John Hindle, described as a gentleman, for 1,550. Less then 4 years later John Hindle disposed of the house and grounds to Mr George Brisco Kerferd, a well known Liverpool merchant, who among his other activities was a Justice Of The Peace, consul-General to Salvador, and Consul for Ecuador, Nicaragua and Guatemala. The transaction cost Mr Kerferd 1, 750 but it consolidated the property with others in the vicinity already owned by Mr Kerferd. The purchase of 'Horton Villa' appears merely to have been an investment on his part, as various tenants are shown the next thirty years, and in any case Mr Kerferd was living elsewhere during this period.

However, in 1867, possibly to assist him with the purchase of 'Buena Vista', on the opposite corner Wellington Road and Portland Street, a large house (now demolished) which stood with its entrance on Alexandra Road, then known as Greenall Street, Mr Kerferd mortgaged 'Horton Villa', 'Buena Vista' and a piece of land measuring 3,371 square yards lying between Victoria Road and Greenall Street opposite the Hotel Victoria (now demolished), to a London lady, a Miss Chow, to secure a loan of 6,000. It must be remembered, incidentally, that in those days there was no railway, and there were, in fact, one or two properties that were standing on what is now the approach to New Brighton Station. In 1888, when it was decided to extend the Seacombe, Hoylake and Deeside Railway to New Brighton the Railway Company purchased Mr Kerferd's piece of land for approximately 4,200, and the sum was utilised to reduce his mortgage to 1,800. At the time, in consideration of Mr Kerferd finding a further 1,800 to complete the payment of the mortgage, Mr Kerferd requested the mortgages, then the Trustees of Miss Chow's Marriage Settlement, to transfer the two remaining properties, that is 'Horton Villa' and Buena Vista', to his wife. Later the same year Mr Kerferd died at the age of 76, and now lies buried on the south side of St. Hilary's Churchyard.

In 1893 Mrs Kerferd sold 'Horton Villa' to Mr Charles McArthur, formerly of 'Ivy Lodge', Alexandra Road. Mr McArthur, in business as an Average Adjuster, was elected a few years later as Member Of Parliament for the Exchange division of Liverpool, losing that seat in 1906, but winning Kirkdale in 1910. He paid 1,900 for 'Horton Villa', giving at the same time an undertaking not to raise the height of the house whilst 'Buena Vista' opposite continued to be used for residential purposes. By 1901 the name 'Horton Villa' had been changed to "Villa Marina', and in that year Mr McArthur transferred the property into his wife's name in consideration of her repaying a mortgage advance of 1,000 by Mrs Kerferd when the house was purchased. The McArthur's continued in residence for many years, he finally dying and she marrying again, to a Mr George Turner on that occasion. In 1922 Mr Turner decided to sell the property, and as a preamble executed a Declaration to the effect that the land on which the house stood measured 1,940 square yards, and not 962 square yards as had previously thought to have been the case. The probable reason was that the lower part of the grounds may have been part of the shore at one time, and not apparently been included in the original measurements, Be that as it may, Moses Hughes, a well known builder living on Mount Pleasant Road, bought the house and its 1,940 square yards of land in 1922 at a cost of 1,700. It seems unlikely that he ever lived there, and two years later he sold the property to Mrs Mary L Thomson, wife of a well known Estate Agent, then living at the adjoining house, for 1,700, the figure he had given for it. The house continued to be let, and as a matter of interest a tenant who was there for some years was Mr L.A.P Warner, later to become Sir Lionel Warner, General Manager of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board.

Mrs Thomson died in 1929, and the property remained in the hands of her Trustees for the next few years. However, in 1933, in pursuance of the proposal to construct the King's Parade, the Corporation. as was the case with the other properties in Wellington Road, took a conveyance of that portion of the strand lying between the 'Villa Marina' grounds and the water's edge, the consideration being the making up of Portland Street into a public highway, the provision of various services including an access road at the foot of the property the clearance of sand to the former earth level, and an undertaking with regard to the prevention of nuisances.

Four years later, in 1937, by which time the house had become known as 'The Blue Horizon Cafe', the late Mrs Thomson Trustees agreed to sell the property to Misses Rennie and Mathieson, who were presumably running the cafe, for 2,000. The following day the two ladies conveyed the property to Councilor W.H Baker, who in fact put up the money in the first place. The purpose of that particular transaction is obscure, but there is now a gap in the title until 1957, when the then proprietor, is Mr Imrie Walter Griffith, having bought property for approximately 900, drew up plans for the conversion of the property into two self-contained maisonettes. the plans were duly approved, the work was carried out, and the position still holds today.

Stamford Villa

'Stamford Villa' was acquired in the late 1830's by Dr Thomas Raffles, the famous Liverpool divine, who already had residence in Mason Street, Edge Hill. then an area of some consequence. Dr Raffles was born in London in 1788, and after leaving school was admitted into Homerton Theological College, where he was subsequently ordained. He married Mary Hargreaves, the daughter of a successful brewery, and in 1811 was appointed to Great George Street Congregational Church in Liverpool (nicknamed 'The Blackie'), replacing the previous minister, Mr Spencer, who had drowned whilst bathing in the Mersey. A disastrous fire at the Church on the 19th February 1840 resulted in the destruction of the existing building and its replacement by the church which stands there today but now as an arts centre.

Dr Raffles named his new house in Wellington Road as 'Stamford Villa', probably after his illustrious cousin, Thomas Stamford Raffles, who, born in 1781 and indifferently educated, had obtained employment with the Honourable East India Company, and achieved fame as a colonial administrator and the founder of Singapore. He was on friendly terms with the Doctor, who also named his son, a well known barrister, after him. Dr Raffles' daughter, Mary, married the prominent Liverpool Cotton Broker, Samuel Marshal Bulley, the pair taking up residence in Montpellier Crescent in New Brighton. The eldest son of that marriage, Thomas Raffles Bulley, presumably named after his maternal grandfather, lived in 'Breck Hey' in Mount Pleasant Road for many years, and became a prominent figure in the life of the Borough until his death in 1921.

In 1851 Dr Raffles developed dropsy, and preached his last sermon in the summer of that year. The deterioration of his health continued, and in August 1863 he passed away at the age of 73. His funeral took place at the old Necropolis, and such had been his popularity that no fewer then 600 people of his friends followed the coffin, and 50,000 lined the streets of Liverpool to see the cortege pass by. By 1865 'Stamford Villa' had passed into the hands of Mr C.W Fox, a Tea Merchant, to be followed by Mr C.S Lemon, a Liverpool shop owner. A well known occupant at the turn of the 20th Century was Laurence Connolly, Fruit Broker, owner of 'The Palace' at New Brighton, and one time Member of Parliament for the Irish constituency of South Longford, who prior to this had lived at a large house further along Wellington Road, which he sold in 1892. He was followed at 'Stamford Villa' in 1904 by William Thomson, of William Thomson & Moulton, the well known Liverpool Estate Agents, who had previously been the owner of 'Wallasey Grange', Grove Road. Although by 1935 both he and his wife had died, the house was still occupied by his family, although somewhere along the line its name had been altered to "Castellon", it's present title. It is now divided into two separate residences.

Portland Villa

Another house on Wellington Road that has continued without change of name is 'Portland Villa', originally one of the homes of Adam Dugdale, a Liverpool Cotton Broker, who had warehouses in Piccadilly and Moseley Street, Manchester. His main residence was 'Dovecot House' in Knotty Ash, Liverpool, then a pleasant mansion standing in parkland at the corner of Pilch Lane and Prescot Road, but now replaced by a sprawling Corporation estate bearing the same name. The connection with New Brighton began in January 1835 when he purchased a plot of land, 2,013 square yards in extent from James Atherton and William Rowson, at a cost of 704.11/- or 2/1d per square yard. Two houses must of been built on the land almost immediately, as in March 1837 Dugdale sold one of the houses to and 995 1/4 square yards of land to Dr Thomas Raffles, the famous Liverpool Divine. Dr Raffles, then minister of Great George Street Congregational Church, named his house 'Stamford Villa', after his illustrious cousin, Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore but it is probable that, like Dugdale, he too retained his Liverpool residence at 28, Mason Street, Edge Lane, then a fashionable quarter. Adam Dugdale died on 8th April 1838, leaving the property to three nephews, the sons of his brother Nathaniel, and the house finally passed out of the Dugdale family in 1857, when it was sold to Peter Joynson Jr, a cotton broker and son of Thomas Joynson, of 'Longview House' Seaview Road, for 1,450.

Peter Joynson remained at 'Portland Villa' until approximately 1874, when he appears to have been made bankrupt, and his property was then sold by his mortgagers, the Liverpool Commercial Banking company, to a Mr R.J Walsh for 2,400. Walsh remained there until his death in 1895, and the following year the house was purchased for 2,175 by the Thornton family, a well known building contractors in a large way off business in Liverpool, who spent over fifty years living there before moving on.

When the Thornton family left 'Portland Villa' the house came on the market again and was resold in 1965 for division into two dwellings. The accommodation was divided vertically quite easily and so becoming 42 and 42a Wellington Road.

Clifton Villa

History of 'Clifton Villa' on the west side of 'Walmer Villa' is rather obscure, although it would seem that as far back as 1853 a Mr Charles Beamish was living there. 20 years later the occupant was William Chadburn, then described as an optician but better known since as the founder of Chadburn's Ship Telegraph Co. Ltd whose products must have traveled the seven seas many times. At the beginning of the 20th Century Mr F.H Chambers, a well known shipowner, had arrived on the scene, to be succeeded after a few years by a variety of occupants, including Colonel Myles Emmet Byrne, John M. Union, an accountant and eventually in 1946 the Misses Jessie and Frances Stoner and so on.

Walmer Villa

Although it is not absolutely certain, it would well be that the 3 houses, 'New Brighton Villa' (now 'Walmer Villa'), 'Claremont Villa' and 'Clifton Villa' began life as one property about 1837, in the ownership of the Rev C.G.T Duffield.

Tradition has it that the two small villas each side of the centre piece was called 'Walmer Villa' were built for the owners two daughters and that they were designed in an identical manner to avoid any argument. 'Walmer Villa' is built in a classical style, two storeys high on the Wellington Road side with a centre porch flanked on each side by paired pilasters. Both 'Clifton Villa' and 'Claremont Villa' are lower in height and built more in Gothic style with embellished bargeboards decorated with pineapples and small oriel windows. 'Walmer Villa' was formerly 'New Brighton Villa', and at one stage was even called 'Northcliffe Private Hotel' much later in History.

Claremont Villa

It is difficult to trace the occupants of 'Claremont Villa' on the east side of Walmer Villa' prior to 1865, when a Mr Earp, a clothing manufacturer was in residence. He was followed by a Mr Tomkinson, a Salt Merchant, who was succeeded in 1879 by Mr Frank Woll, a partner in 'Goodless, Woll & Co', the paint manufacturers.

Wellington Road seems to be popular with the legal profession, as the turn of the 20th Century witnesses the arrival of Mr Charles Julum Meyer, a Barrister, who spent at least twenty-five years there.


In 1845, on land purchased from William Rowson, 'Redcliffe' was built to the order of Daniel Nielson, a well known Liverpool stockbroker, from designs prepared by Harvey Lonsdale Elmes. Elmes achieved fame as the architect of St. Georges Hall, Liverpool, although he died at an early age before the building was completed.

'Redcliffe' is built in red ashlar sandstone in the Tudor style but unfortunately over the years the exterior has been mutilated by various alterations, with modern windows and extensions. By 1851 Nielson had been replaced William Hughes Daunt, an Iron Merchant, who, like his predecessor was a worshipper at St. Hilary's Church. The Parish Register show that between 1850 and 1865 the Daunts had no fewer then 11 children baptised at the church, It is perhaps not surprising that the family vault is one of the largest in the Churchyard.

After the Daunts had left 'Redcliffe', there were a variety of occupants including the Locket family who owned land where Trafalgar Road is today. The Lockets were followed by Colonel Henry Langdon, of the well known Liverpool tent making firm, who spent nearly fifteen years there and in about 1925 he was succeeded by Mr C. Graham, a Liverpool merchant, who ten years later turned the home into a hotel.

After 1957/58 the building came up for Sale again and an auction was held on the premises but the building failed to reach a reserve of 1,750. However, after the Sale, a private negotiation was pursued and 'Redcliffe' was finally sold to Mr Walker Farnell, a well known local builder and roofer who converted the property into flats making his home in one of the ground floor apartments

'Swiss Villas'

Numbers 28 and 30 Wellington Road are pair of identical houses with an addition having been made to Number 28 on the East side with a whole section having been built over the side garden. These two dwellings form a long Gothic group, stucco rendered and painted with fancy bargeboards, ornamented chimneys, drop moulds over the pointed arched windows and to the seward side having cast iron balconies and spiral stairs down to the gardens facing the sea. These dwellings started life in 1838, and appear to have been known as 'Swiss Villas'. In the absence of any details in the street directories of those days, it is difficult to know who were the first owners, although it would seem that it could well have been the respective builders Messrs Richard and Paul Baker for Number 28 and Messrs Westmore and Crosby for Number 30.

'Swiss Cottage'

A Mr. William Hadfield, a Liverpool Merchant, is shown on the Tithe Map of 1841 as being the occupant of Number 30 which by then had become known as 'Swiss Cottage' so retaining part of the original name from then onwards. Number 28 changes it's name completely.

Early details of successive occupants are scarce, but one person. Mr James Kiernan, who went there in the early years of the last century, qualifies for special mention. Apart from being a Councilor, he was very much involved in the entertainment world, having joined the staff of the old Rotunda Theatre in Liverpool in 1875 as a check-taker, at a weekly wage of 9/-. He left there in 1886 to open the Westminister Theatre in Walton, and subsequently the Paddington Theatre, the Tivoli Palace, the Kursaal, Liverpool, the Empire Theatre, Barnsley, the Olympia Cinema, the Park Palace and the Sefton Palace. He was concerned with the 'Irving Theatre, Borough Road, Seacombe but by 1913 he had retired. After his departure from 'Swiss Cottage', Mr W. Esplen, a well known Liverpool shipowner, spent several years at the house, but around 1925 conversion to flats appears to have taken place.


The other 'Swiss Villa' was known at one stage of its History as 'Sandrift Cottage', but it has not been possible to discover when it acquired that name, and at an earlier date it may have been known by still another title, as various names, such as 'Hereford Villa' and 'Catherine Villa', have been found, However in 1865 it was occupied by Lt.Colonel H.A Grey, a Liverpool Cotton Merchant, who was also in charge of the troops stationed at Perch Rock Battery. He was followed in 1880 by Maurice Gandy, another Cotton Merchant, who spent some time as a tenant of 'Cliff Villa', William Rowson's old home on Wellington Road, and his successor in 1893 was Mr G.A Leete, a Liverpool Auctioneer and Estate Agent. Undoubtedly the best known family to occupy the house was the Birchalls, at one time proprietors of 'The Journal Of Commerce'. In the person of Mr Herbert C. Birchall they appeared on the scene in 1910, and were still to be found at the house forty years later, having renamed the house 'Inveresk' in the meantime. Mr Birchall. the only son of Charles Birchall, the founder of the family business, was born in 1869, and took over the Managing Directorship of the Company in 1905, on the death of his father, His wife, whom he married in 1896, was the daughter of Mr T.W Read, then living in Church Street, Egremont. Made a Justice of the Peace in 1912, Mr Birchall was also a Life Governor of the Victoria Central Hospital, and numbered horse-riding and golf among his recreations.

Following Mr Birchall's death, 'Inveresk' changed hands in the early 1960's and was purchased by Major R.A.B Howell, a retired officer in the Indian Army and following his death the property was again sold to Mr S. Stark (brother to Graham Stark a well known actor and comedian) who converted the dwelling into flats.

Warwick Villa

This house, standing on the west corner of Wellington Road and Atherton Street, is known as 'Warwick Villa', and has retained its name throughout it's life, though on some deeds it appears as 'Warwick Cottage'. Sold by William Rowson to a Mr Isaac Harrop in 1844, it seems to have changed its occupants with great regularity every decade or so, with the result that a variety of Merchants, Solicitors, Stockbrokers and so on all called it home at one time or another. Mr Sandie, a Soap Manufacturer, who afterwards lived at 'Mosslands'. the mansion that use to stand at the corner of Breck Road and the Bidston footpath, lived at the turn of the last century, in the days when it was quite usual, particularly after a gale, to find sand drifting up to the back door.

'Warwick Cottage' is one of the several houses in Wellington Road which present a single storey frontage on the landward entrance side and two storeys to the seaward side, this being due to the fall in land from Wellington Road to the shore. The dwelling is classical is style, the most attractive side that facing the sea, whilst the other elevation appears to have had the bays added at some later date and are more Gothic, this fact confirmed by repair work. There is a strong possibility that 'Warwick Cottage' was designed by the same architecture for 'Redcliffe' and 'Ellerslie', that being Harvey Lonsdale Elmes.

Mr Sandie was followed by Joseph William Roby a Solicitor who died on July 23rd 1912 when the property passed to Mr Henry Chester Jones. Mr Jones was a Corn Miller with offices in Fenwick Street, Liverpool and he stayed quite some time at this villa living here from 1912 until early 1936 when he dies on 1st April of that year. He was followed by Edward Ellison Knowles, otherwise Edward Ellison, a Master Stevedore of 7 Corfe Buildings, Preesons Row, Liverpool and 1 Rock Part, Birkenhead. Edward Knowles remained in possession, but not living there, from 1936 to 1950, when it passed to Elizabeth Ellen Ellison, his widow, and eventually to his son also named Edward Knowles. The son was also a Stevedore and had a company known as The Liverpool Derricking and Carrying Company Ltd. He sold out to Mr and Mrs Hockey in 1961.

Close by to this dwelling is the Winter Gardens Theatre which was, in early days a very successful venue, and rumour has it that Lawrence Irving, the actor son of an even more famous actor father, Sir Henry Irving, stayed here with his actress wife Mabel Hackney when performing at the theatre. Sadly they both lost their lives as passengers when the 'Empress Of India' was in collision with another vessel, the 'Storstadt', on May 29th 1914 off Quebec. 1,1012 people were drowned, including the Irvings.

'Warwick Cottage' is presently converted, with minimum alterations internally and no alterations externally, to three flats. Due to neglect over the initial years the original cast iron railings to Wellington Road, beyond repair, had been replaced with an exact replica, the moulds having been made using some of the better parts of the originals. It is interesting to note that the gateway to these railings (now listed) is not the same as the original, The new cast iron gateway came from the Guinea Gap Baths in Seacombe and was situated at the entrance by the pay office between the two turnstiles. The gate complete with the turnstile supports were purchased and saved by Mr P. Hockey when the Guinea Gap Baths were modernised, and erected at 'Warwick Cottage'.

The upper garden facing Wellington Road, when it was first laid out had a cast iron peach house with hot water heating pipes and the gardens facing the sea had two very long greenhouses also in cast iron and heated from a main boiler. These greenhouses, now completely gone, had fig trees and other Victorian delights. All the soil, of course, had to be imported as sand was the base and it must of been disheartening gardening in this positioning and fighting against drifting sand in adverse weather conditions.


It would appear that James Atherton, when he developed New Brighton, must have taken part of the land comprised in the Penkett Sale into his own name. as mentioned elsewhere, he died in 1838, and in 1846 the Trustees of his estate sold a piece of land measuring approximately 2,600 square yards, on the north-east corner of Wellington Road and Atherton Street, to Mr George Hall Lawrence, a Liverpool merchant, for 800, Mr Lawrence previously lived in Bedford Street, Liverpool, and was a member of the Education Watch and Finance Committee of Liverpool Town Council. In addition, he was a Councilor for the West Derby Ward, and on the committee for the Ladies' Charity. On the piece of land that he had purchased, he had built for him this imposing residence, on which he conferred the name 'Ellerslie'. This house in conjunction with 'Redcliffe' was designed by Harvey Lonsdale Elmes who was the architect of St. Georges Hall, Liverpool. It is possible that G.H Lawrence was a member of St. George's Hall Building Committee and commissioned Elmes to do his house. In 1852 he bought a further 2,400 square yards, of land adjacent to the house from the Atherton Trustees, at a cost of 600, but he did not remain at 'Ellerslie' for any great length of time, as in 1858 he sold the entire property to William Gordon, also a Liverpool merchant, for 5,250. Eleven years later, William Gordon, then living at Castle Douglas in Scotland. disposed of the house and both pieces of land for 5,000 to Charles Barber Greaves-Banning, Postmaster of Liverpool and previously of 'Withenfield House' in Withens Lane.

In 1874 the property changed hands again, the purchaser being Mr Frederic Shepherd Hull, a Liverpool Solicitor, the consideration on this occasion also being 5,000. Mr Greaves-Banning eventually died in Oxton in 1890, and was buried in St. Hilary's Churchyard, where he was joined by his widow some seven or eight years later. Mr Hull was not to enjoy occupation of the house for long, as he passed away a year after the purchase, although his son Frederic Marton Hull, also a well know Liverpool Solicitor, continued in residence there for some years, finally dying at 'Florida Mount' in Montpellier Crescent in 1907.

In 1883 the Trustees of his father's estate, one of whom was J.S Harmood Banner, later to be knighted and become Member of Parliament, sold the house and grounds, which not long previously had been increased to 6.700square yards by a further purchase, to Lawrence Connolly, a Fruit Broker, for 4,000. Mr Connolly had various interests in the district, and was well known as the proprietor of the Palace in New Brighton. He was also, at one period of his career, Nationalist Member of Parliament for the Irish constituency of South Longford, He remained at 'Ellersllie' for nine years, before selling the property for 2,500 to a Mr Michele Amoroso, Shipbroker, formerly of Alexandra Road who thereupon converted the house into two separate residences, one of which retained the name 'Ellerslie' and the other being known as "Endcliffe'.

'Endcliffe' was to let various tenants, while 'Ellerslie' remained in the occupation of the Amoroso family. Mr Amoroso died in 1904, but his wife stayed on at the house until 1919, when a Mrs Dolores Wainwright paid 6,000 for the two houses and the land. She apparently amalgamated the houses into one, known as 'Bella Vista'. and finally sold out to two brothers named Rowlands in 1923 Ten years later they entered into the usual arrangements with the Corporation regarding that portion of the Strand lying to the north of the property, and eight years after that, in 1941, one of the brothers died. Ownership of the property was assumed by Mrs. Rowlands in 1943, at a cost of 5,000, and year or two after her death in 1955, her Executors sold the estate to the Corporation for 4,900. The house is now divided into 6 flats.

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#291366 - 11th Feb 2009 3:59pm Re: Mansions Of Wallasey : Wellington Road Villas [Re: ]
Doctor_Frick Offline
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Good Stuff. Lots of History in Wallasey
Over 5000 years of Wirral History:

#291386 - 11th Feb 2009 5:38pm Re: Mansions Of Wallasey : Wellington Road Villas [Re: Doctor_Frick]
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