Grand Houses of Chesham

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Grand Houses of Chesham

Post  Mike D on Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:43 am

I grew up at the top of Chesham Road, and as a child I used to play in Chesham woods. There are the remains of three houses in the woods and I am trying to find details of them so I can put together a detailed history of the houses and their occupants over the years. I have got a lot of detail of the families from census returns.

The three houses were:-

1. Chesham House - home of the Walker family; plenty of info on the Walker family in Bury ref library, but would be interested in finding out how and why it came to be demolished - Oliver Ormerod Walker left about £9m (todays equivalent) in his will in 1914, and his house was demolished just 40-ish years later Shocked That is some spending! I have some photo's of this house from Bury Image Bank

2. Green Bank - This was occupied until early 1970's and was demolished around 1976. I played in the derelict house prior to demolition. It was possibly built by a cotton mill owner called William Wanklyn but that is all I know. I seem to remember a Mrs Whitehead being the last occupant, but I may be wrong. Again, how and why was it demolished?? I have a couple of images from Bury Image Bank of this house.

3. Helensholme/Danesmoor House - I have very little on this, although I do remember the lodge house being occupied until the early 1970's by an artist. The main house was possibly demolished in the 1960's, but the stables to the rear were finally demolished in the mid 1970's. The house was also used to house Channel Islands Evacuees during WWII. I have no photo's of this.


What amazes me is that house such as the above would today be worth many thousands of pounds, and the idea of demolishing something like this would not be entertained as they most likely would have been listed. How times change??

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks,



M.

Mike D

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Re: Grand Houses of Chesham

Post  Martin K on Sat Jul 02, 2011 2:44 pm

I also spent my childhood playing in Chesham Woods. I lived on Garston street, and would frequent the woods during the 1980's. My Dad, uncles and aunt also grew up there, and spent their childhood in the woods also. They have some recollections of the buildings being there. Unfortunately, my Dad has passed on and I cannot question him on it now that I've taken a big interest in finding out more about them!. One of my Uncles is a few years younger than my Dad was and his recollections are somewhat vague unfortunately, other than him remembering Chesham House falling into decay while he was growing up in the 50s/60s. He blames the council for allowing it to happen, as the Chesham House fell into their ownership on the passing of the last Walker.

Some old maps show the property still standing in the late 60s, my Uncle doesn't remember its exact demolition, but he seems to recall the roof fell in, due to the decay, and it was soon after that it was demolished!

When I spent my time playing up there, lots of time was spent at the Folly in the orchard, which is still there to this day, although about a year ago the council chose to brick up the windows and entrance!

The Folly as of 2nd July 2011 : http://www.flickr.com/photos/mdkilner/5894939624/in/pool-581338@N25/lightbox/

The Folly just 2 years ago, May 31st 2009 : http://www.flickr.com/photos/mdkilner/5236111720/in/photostream/lightbox/

What are you recollections hearing about of 'Mrs Walker' still walking the grounds? Growing up I heard lots of urban legend of the 'White Lady' walking around Chesham Woods. My Dad, and his brother claimed to have seen her too.

Unfortunately I cannot add any more, but I'm very interested in charting the history of it too, because of the role it played in my childhood. Very good times indeed! Smile

Thanks Smile

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Re: Grand Houses of Chesham

Post  Mike D on Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:27 am

Hi Martin,


Thanks for the reply. Seems like your childhood was very similar to mine. I was brought up on Beech Grove Close, at the top of Chesham Road.

I do remember the story of the "white lady", or should I say that your mention of it reminded me. I have never seen anything. Myself and a gang of friends used to camp out in the woods for pretty much all of the summer holidays from being about 11 to 16 and we never saw anything odd.

Here are some images of the houses on the Bury Image Bank website - http://www.buryimagebank.org.uk/ if you search for Chesham it pulls up loads of old photos of the Chesham area, including some of the houses in the woods.

You are correct about Bury Council, when the last of the Walker family died in the early 50's, she gifted all the Walker estate to Bury Council - this was probably a result of extortionate death duties. It was cheaper to give the house away than allow another family member to inherit. Whilst this seems odd to us now, it must be remembered this was the 1950's the thinking was different and most things had to be "modern" and new. The war had ended, it had bankrupted the Country and it was a fresh start with Nationalisation, the NHS etc, etc. Along with this it was political payback time and wealthy landowners (the toffs) were certainly made to pay. I did read that more destruction of historic old houses took place in the 1950's than at any other time in history (if you have an interest in old houses and our lost heritage see this list - http://lh.matthewbeckett.com/lh_complete_list.html ) The Walker family were the second largest landowners in Lancashire, next to Lord Derby. The business they had was Walker & Lomax, and was located where Halfords / NHS Walk In centre now is on what was Barlow Street. It employed about 1500 people in cotton weaving. It closed in 1928, just before the great depression and must have been in existence for about 100 years. The second generation of landowning Walkers sort of diversified, but still kept the cotton business along with bank ownership - see here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Ormerod_Walker - this could be where Garston Street came from.

Mike D

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Chesham house and greenbank house

Post  cbennett on Wed Apr 11, 2012 3:10 pm

My nanna was born and grew up in the lodge house at Dansemoor house Chesham. She knows loads about the area, who worked and lived there. My Great grandfather was the gardener for Colonel Wike who lived at Danesmoor house. When Colonel Wike died (December 1921) my greatgrand father ( Frederick Critchley) continued to work for Mrs Wike. When she died he went working for Mrs Whitehead (Colonel Wike's daughter) at Greenbank house, Chesham. Danesmoor house was then empty for a few years. The house was then let out to relatives. During the war the Danesmoor house was used to house children from Guernsey.
My nanna has some great stories about the Walkers and the area and I'm sure she would love to recall them with you.

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Re: Grand Houses of Chesham

Post  Mike D on Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:28 pm

Hi CBennett,

Thanks you for the very detailed reply - I'm amazed! I knew there would be people around who remembered Danesmoor as it was known (it was Helensholme originally) I do remember the lodge house being lived in in the early 1970's by an artist and this was just prior to the lodge's demolition.

I have some photo's of the WWII evacuees and some detail about them, but what happened after the war and up to the demolition of the house I don't know.

I would love to hear more, and see any photographs if your Nan has any.

Thank you for your response.


M.

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Re: Grand Houses of Chesham

Post  cbennett on Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:09 am

Hi Mike,
My nanna is looking for pictures and would love to tell you about it. Are you still next door to the Pack Horse and we could meet for a pint?
Steve used to work behind the bar at the pub and sends his regards.
Catherine

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Re: Grand Houses of Chesham

Post  Mike D on Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:11 am

Wow! Very Happy Shocked Very Happy What a small world! I was only thinking of Steve last week when I came across his contact details when updating my phone.

It would be great to meet up for a pint and a chat too!

I have PM'd you my contact details - check your Forum message box


I look forward to hearing from you.


Mike.

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