The History of Court Hey Park

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Aerial Photo 1945

The site can be traced back to 1783 when it was a farmer’s field forming part of the Lord Derby Estate.

robertson_gladstone

Robertson Gladstone JP, merchant and politician. He was the 2nd son, Sir John Gladstone and brother of William Ewart Gladstone, Prime Minister of the UK four times. Born: November 15, 1805, Liverpool Died: September 23, 1875, Court Hey Hall Education: University of Glasgow, Eton College

The grounds were later acquired by Robertson Gladstone (1805-1875).

Robertson Gladstone married Mary Ellen Heywood-Jones in January 1836 and the mansion house, Court Hey Hall, was built the same year in the sixty acre walled estate.

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The Mansion

The Hall was originally sited at the end of the drive near where the circular car park and play area is. The hall was a large L shaped sandstone house with stable buildings, rose garden and a lodge at the corner of the lane in the north west of the park. The entrance drive has been re-aligned but the original gate posts can still be seen on the perimeter with Roby Road.

Robertson Gladstone was a Director of the Liverpool to Manchester railway, which opened in 1830. When the railway was renovated it was necessary to replace the stone sleepers used for the track. These sleepers had once been traversed by the famous Rocket steam engine and the newer heavier locomotives were damaging the track. The Gladstone family purchased the stones and used them to line the edge of the main driveway toward the stable buildings and they are still there today. One can actually see the holes and indentations made for the metal plates securing the rail.

Other original features that remain are the rose-garden, stables and walled garden. One of Gladstone’s six sons, Walter, lived at Court Hey until his death in 1919.  J. Bibby and Sons a cattle food manufacturer bought the estate, and established an experimental poultry and cattle foods farm. The company developed the park as a Centre for sport and recreation. During the Second World War the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Foods requisitioned part of the estate as a quarantine station.Football, tennis, bowls and cricket became familiar sights around the park while the hall was used for ballroom dances, billiards and other social activities. Recreation continued alongside a printing business, which was established in the grounds in 1923. From the late 40’sLiverpool Pembroke, an Athletic and Cycle Club also used Court Hey Park as a base until redevelopment forced them to move in the 1960’s.

The hall and grounds fell into disrepair and in 1951 the company sold the estate to Huyton-with-Roby Council. The hall was demolished in 1956 and part of the land sold to Vernons Pools and then a housing estate which is now called Grangewood/High Beeches Estate. The original entrance to the Vernons factory runs alongside the Eastern side of the estate.