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Poole Hall

Poole Hall was a Tudor house that had been rebuilt by Thomas Poole and his family who owned a large amount of property in the Wirral. Research shows that the home was originally surrounded by a moat although no trace of this has been found. There was a fireplace in the hall with a stone above showing 1574, although it is thought the actual date could be 30 years earlier.

An octagonal turret was one of two either end of the east front of the hall which faced the River Mersey, one of which contained a chapel that the family had built as they were all ardent Catholics. A clock stood in the centre of the gable, which was made in 1704. More research shows that there was a secret chamber that stood in one of the upper rooms of the house.

Generations of the Poole family lived here for nearly 600 years from the 13th century to the early 1820's. The family were actively involved during the civil war. After which Poole Hall was put on market and sold many times, to many different people. Over many years of occupancy after the Poole family the house slowly decayed. The hall was then sold to Bowater's where a paper mill was constructed between 1921 and then of which came into production in 1931. The grand hall was later destroyed to allow Bowater's to build an extension, although farmyards and farmhouses stood until 1956 which were then demolished for further Bowater mills.

Since made in 1703 by John Seddon, of Frodsham, this exquisite clock that once hung on the front of Poole hall has been on many journeys. The curious clock was hung at the top of the gable in Poole Hall for many reasons, one was to make the hall look nicely presented and the other was for the benefit of the farm workers. Research shows that when Poole hall was demolished the grand clock was moved into the main foyer of Bowater's paper mill. On the 12th of February 1976 the Mayor, Councillor P. Hall visited the paper mill to look at the grand clock himself. Slowly over the years the clock had been damaged. The restoration of the clock was carried out by Mr Ron Wood and Mr Peter Farthing taking 18 months to restore it. The clock was now back to its original condition apart from the wooden frame that once held it.

The clock now resides in the conference room of the Boat museum situated in Ellesmere Port. Looking at the clock myself i found that it isn't the most beautiful monument and much smaller than i would have expected. Workers at the Boat museum say the old clock still ticks when wound and will ring at a push.

Within Poole Hall was a small dark cell; believed to be a hiding place where a priest once lived. The Poole family were all Roman Catholics and retained the services of a priest for their private chapel, which was situated in an upper room research shows that the name of the Roman Catholic priest was Father Humphrey Evans. The Priest had to live in hiding as there were severe penalties on families following the reformation and during the civil war. For a while it seemed the frail old man was to remain safe but the soldiers discovered the secret chamber and the old priest was dragged out into the daylight where 'he died soon after'.

The Pooles were Cavaliers during the Civil war and were besieged By the Roundheads of Oliver Cromwell. Sir William Moreton commanded the roundheads and eventually the Hall was stolen temporarily from the Pooles. Research shows that there is evidence of the conflict that took place at Poole Hall which was discovered in 1844 when workers drained a large pond near the hall and found matchlocks, pistols, swords, halberts, etc, which had been dumped there when the hall capitulated to the Roundheads.

During the Civil war Roland Poole who was the tenant of the hall at that point in time was forced to sell all the 'goods and plate now standing in Poole Hall' to his brother Sir Francis. The bill of sale dated March 16th, 1744 makes fascinating reading and consisted of 'one silver tankard, five silver spoons, a marrow spoon and a silver can; four pairs of bedsocks, curtains, six feather beds and blankets, two dozen caned chairs and a couch of the same; two large looking glasses and a dressing glass, four dozen pewter plates and one dozen dishes; five brass pots and pans, two saucepans, one stove grate, a Jack and all my other kitchen implements'.

In 1529 Thomas Poole, who was sheriff of Cheshire and seneschal of Birkenhead Priory, and who had married Mary daughter of Sir John Talbot, commenced the restoration of the hall. Which was in poor state of repair. The estates had passed to him through his brother James Poole who had died due to severe wounds from siege of Chester. He was blessed and buried in Nantwhich. Thomas Poole was now a wealthy landowner who possessed a considerably large amount of property at Bebington, Neston, Saughall, Capenhurst, Moreton, Woodchurch, Oscroft, Backford and Thingwall.

Poole Hall and its occupants were no strangers to tragedy. Legend has it one Lady Ameline de Poole was shot dead by her husband, though for what indiscretion he sought such drastic remedy is not known. She is said to have haunted the hall ever after and even today workers employed on the site are reluctant to visit certain areas alone. There were two walled gardens where fruit trees stood along with an ancient mulberry tree, which stood until around 1934. The main entrance was positioned on the east side of the house beneath a struggling porch where a great oak door studded with iron was. The spacious hall measured at 45ft by 30ft, which then led to the large magnificent dining room panelled with oak. Large stairs also made from great strong oak (a sure sign of wealth in those days) continued to the upper rooms where as mentioned earlier was the chapel. Another one of which was richly ornamented with armorial bearings of the Talbots, Troutbecks, Stanleys and other families with whom the Pooles were allied by marriage.

In 1791, when sir Henry Poole, a member of the Sussex branch of the family, visited ' the very old and ruinous seat of the Poole family', he found the mansion quite desolate and in decay and the gardens all neglected and a wilderness; but the family continued to live and farm there until the death of Sir Henry Poole in 1821 who choked on an orange pip, taking the ancient family of Pooles with him. - This article was taken from a newspaper titled 'do you remember Poole Hall' produced by Joan Rocke. Published April 1984 in the newspaper the Cheshire life.

Research shows that a letter was kept from the Agent, which said: "the rats are very troublesome; I have got all of the runs stop'd but they have made new places". Much of the rotted timber and plasterwork of the original building had been replaced with stone. Thomas Poole also built a three-storied octagonal tower at each corner of the house.

After Henry Poole's death the hall became tenanted by farmers, they put much effort into trying to restore the old house but it was starting to loose its battle against dry rot, industries began to intrude on the old family home.

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OS Map 1872

OS Map 1872
selected area of Poole Hall

OS Map 1881

OS Map 1881
selected area of Poole Hall

In 1920 William Budden visited the ruined home, he wrote:" Poole Hall has fallen on evil days." He also writes, " On entering the hall the present dreary character of the mansion is felt, for, within the last decade, the old part, with the exception of the kitchen, has been entirely stripped and now offers a picture of desolation. Everywhere is dark and unwholesome. The discolouration of the ages has been great. Minute fungi overspread the whole interior, hanging from roof beams and walls in fine tangled web work. The fabric is unstable; as one creeps cautiously up the old staircase, once oak lined, but now stripped bare, every step must be tested. In the upper most rooms great holes have rotted through the beams and the floorboards and the Chapel, that only ten years ago was still equipped with altar rails which is now unrecognisable; the famous secret chamber lies with its secret blatantly exposed." - Joan Rocke produced this article in a newspaper called Cheshire Life published on April 1984 While most of Poole hall was in devastating condition the Mulberry tree mentioned earlier that stood in one of the gardens sill stood and spread its sheltering arms.

Back in the 1840's Poole Hall was described by W Mortimer as "the finest ancient manor house in Cheshire". Just before the demolition Arthur Mee complimented Poole Hall as "charming"

Poole Hall was the home of most of Netherpool, as well as the Poole family that lived there; maids, servants and farmers were also residents. This was due to little houses and homes near the work place.

On the 4th September 1933 Mr Samuel Jones was the occupier In 1937 the old building was in a sorry state and it was then decided to demolish it. Its last tenant took his own life on hearing that he had to leave.

Poole Hall's demolition was a falling victim of modern industry, taking with it one of the few historical associations of the district.

The hall was lived in until early 1937; at that time it was an attraction to sightseers and students offering much interest mentioned earlier in this project, for example the secret chamber and the curious clock.

It was said to be a fine specimen of Tudor architecture. Poole Hall in 1938 had fallen in decay and was extremely unsafe. A newspaper article dating 22nd July 1938 reads, 'demolition has been necessitated for extension of the paper mills.' Another article dated 31st December 1937 reads, 'a few outhouses are to be left standing' this stuck to its word until nearly a year later when all farmhouses and stables were knocked down making way for more of the paper mill's extensions. It took a few years for total destruction to the hall. Just before the demolition Joan Rocke wrote of the hall as 'a grey venerable old building smothered with ivy, the windows blocked up, and the stables derelict' Any articles that stood or lay in the house were all removed when Poole Hall was unoccupied years ago. Dated 19th February 1937 another article reads; 'antiquity may possibly be obliterated by industry. If certain extensions are carried out at Bowater's Paper Mill's, as untimated by the Chairman at the annual meeting, it may be necessary to demolish Poole Hall, famous mansion dating back to the 13th century.


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Bowaters Aerial

Bowaters Aerial

Bowater Site

No. 5 & 6 Machines

Modern aerial
view of Poole Hall
Bowaters site

Modern a-z
map of Poole Hall
Bowaters site

Some people may think it was a shame Poole Hall had to be knocked down to allow way for Bowater's paper mill extension in the 1930's. Although the firm brought with it employment, wages and of course pap The construction work for Bowater's Paper Mill and the Manchester Ship Canal took a terrible toll, although during the excavation for the latter a stone-built roman road was discovered 15 feet below the roots of fully matured trees, some of which were hundreds of years old.

Originally, the road had forded the River Mersey and headed across the Wirral toward Parkgate and might well be the origin of the persistent local legend of a 'secret passage' connecting Poole Hall and the monastery of Stanlow. Bowater's Mersey Mills Paper Limited' paper manufacturers came to Netherpool, Ellesmere Port in 1929. Poole Hall's location was ideal being situated beside Manchester Ship Canal with access to the River Mersey and the port of Liverpool. What once grew fertile soil was now covered with factories and warehouses.

This part of the project describes the history and what used to be the current situation and what should have been the future prospects of Bowater's paper mill at Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. Bowater's Mersey Mill at Ellesmere Port, Cheshire came into production in 1930 it first begun as a two-man machine mill using imported baled pulp as its raw material and supplying, for the most part, the Northern editions of the national daily newspapers, printed in Manchester.

In 1933two more machines were produced because of the success of the first two they were bought at the Manchester Ship Canal Company. No further extensions took place due to the war. In 1958 and 1959 another two high-speed newsprint machines were purchased, as well as a power and steam plant and the installation of a ground wood mill, which was also used for home grown timber. The company was now expanding rapidly.

In the spring 1971 the labour force was reduced dramatically due to the original two newsprint machines being closed down. Research shows that in 1973 there were four paper machines operating on a four-shift seven-day week basis. -This piece of writing was found in a folder at Bridgewater Paper Company Limited probably made confidential for workers at the time Bowater's was around.

The total number of employees including staff for the mill operation was 1,100 these workers were paid by the hour. Their total cost in 1972 was 2,600,000. The manning levels were reduced over the years, especially when the two oldest machines were shut in 1971.

Interview with Rob Clare at Bowaters

How old were you when you started Bowater's?

What was your job title?
Press boy

What did you have to do?
Clean the presses of broke, learn about felts & how to guide them, make tea and go for meals

How long did you work for?
A 52 hour week 3 shift system

How much did you get?
A bout 20 a week after tax.

When did you start back at the paper mill?
In 1983 when Consolidated- Bathurst Uk restarted the mill, but it has now been taken over by Abitibi Consolidated.

What is your job title now?
Machine man

How long do you work for now?
2 days 7am - 7pm & 2 nights 7pm - 7am with 4 days off

Newspaper Articles

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1937 Demolition

Aug 5 1938

1938 Demolition

May 1939

Mayor & Clock 1976

1993 Poole Hall History

1990s Poole Hall History


Ellesmere Port 1795-1960 by T.W. Roberts
Yesterday's Wirral No 9 Ellesmere Port to Bromborough by Ian & Marilyn Boumphrey.
Looking back at Ellesmere Port by Pat O'Brien
The old photographs Ellesmere Port compiled by Pat O'Brien
Ellesmere Port:the making of an industrial borough by Peter J.Aspinall and Daphne M.Hudson

Bridgewater Paper Company Limited (security office)
North Road, Ellesmere Port
Cheshire, U.K

Ellesmere Port Library Reference Library
Ellesmere Port Council
Ellesmere Port Boat Museum

Researched, scanned, compiled and written by
Josephine Davey-Edge & Stephanie Clare (Year 9)

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