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Report - Winstanley Hall - August 2015

goingunder

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#1
Visited with Lights-out and another non-member.

I've spent a fair bit of time reading up on Winstanley Hall - a little bit before but most afterwards as after visiting this place I came back with a craving to know more about how the people who owned this place lived and how it might of looked / been to have been involved with this place at its peak.

There's a bit on Wikipedia about the place however the most detailed read I've found is at http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/lancs/vol4/pp87-89

Winstanley is situated on the eastern lower slopes of Billinge Hill, 440 ft. above sea level being reached, on the edge of an extensive colliery district, several coal-mines being found in the township itself. The principal object in the landscape is the mass of trees surrounding Winstanley Hall, the grounds of which occupy nearly one-third of the whole area of the township. The rest of the country is divided into fields, usually separated by thin hedges, and sometimes by low stone walls.

Thomas Winstanley, an Oxford scholar of some distinction, was born in the township in 1749. He became Camden Professor of History in 1790 and held other university and college appointments. He died in 1823. James Cropper, 1773 to 1840, philanthropist, was also a native of Winstanley,and Henry Fothergill Chorley, 1808 to 1872, musical critic and general writer, of Blackley Hurst.
We had a right laugh on the approach and definitely had to keep our heads down - at one point we had to lie flat on our backs in bushes when we thought 4x4 which was passing had stopped - we expected a search to begin but the vehicle started up again and marched on - so back on our feet.

Once we was in the grounds the feeling of being watched completely disappeared and we comfortably mooched around the place. There is currently renovation work being done on a couple of the buildings with scaffolding and roof supports in place - looks like this place might be getting some TLC and I hope that is the case as it'd be a crying shame to see this place wiped off the map - it really is a magnificent architectural feat.

I did come away though wondering how any modern building or restoration company could take on a restoration of the scale required to sort parts of Winstanley Hall out , it really is hanging on for dear life in places.

I didn't get a great deal of good pictures here - a mixture of being too busy wondering about and treading (extremely) carefully and I think I had the wrong white balance settings selected for the whole outing - got a horrible green tint to many of the pics :(

Here's a selection of the best from a bad bunch:

1.
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View of the main building from the front

2.
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Brilliant wooden beams, would make one hell of a master bedroom

3.
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Clearly the latest 'residents' aren't quite as well off as those who lived before them

4.
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5.
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Impressive stair case rails in right mess :(

6.
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7.
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8.
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9.
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A ceiling rose like this would be worth a fortune today - also visible is the roof damage which is typical in almost every room now (watch your step!)

10.
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11.
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12.
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There is some seriously detailed wood craft knocking around the hall

13.
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14.
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15.
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18.
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Last edited:

goingunder

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#5
Snake Oil - I've never been as careful as I was that day - in places every inch had to be assessed with the tips of your toes, and at times, you just had to go for it and stay steady. The place is far, far from safe - seems to have deteriorated considerably compared to when you went and I guess it wasn't great then.

Cheers @The Wombat :)
 

Idle Hands

28DL Regular User
Regular User
#9
I really like your pictures as well - I did this without a tripod one evening and it was a nightmare to shoot it hand-held in low light.

On the positive side, it doesn't look any worse than it did 18 months ago!
 

goingunder

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#10
Cheers Idle Hands - I took around 150 pictures and ended up with about 30 I liked.

I can imagine you had difficulty in low light - we all used tripods even in the day time - one room everything is over exposed as the sun shone through the cracks and glassless windows but then you'd move in to a hallway and it would be nigh on pitch black. I was paranoid at times that the floor my tripod legs stood on would cave in and my camera would come crashing down - luckily it didn't happen!
 

goingunder

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#11
Whilst we're on the topic of Winstanley Hall - does anybody have any info regarding the work that's currently being done? What the plans are / who's involved?

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There's a PDF document from the SAVE organisation - not sure if these guys are anything to do with it? There's a couple of ideas being floated and a fair bit of resistance from Wigan council - mainly from proposals for turning the hall in to residential properties / flats.
 

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