‘Bank Hall belongs to a period very different to ours; a time of servants and gardeners, butlers and coachmen.’
Children from Leyland have been given a fascinating insight into the history – and future – of Bank Hall in Bretherton.
The 17th-century house is currently being restored as part of a unique project by the Friends of Bank Hall group, and schoolchildren from Leyland have been asked to help out.
Youngsters from Moss Side Primary School paid their first visit to the building just before the Easter holidays, to learn about the history, take photographs and do some drawings in preparation for their involvement in the regeneration programme.
Heritage Lottery Funds have meant that the Friends could invite the youngsters to take part in the project, which will restore the outside fabric of Bank Hall, the central area which includes the main entrance hall, the main hall and thehistoric clock tower.
The remainder of the internal building will be converted into 10 apartments and two self-contained houses, with the construction of 23 new builds to finance the remainder of the project.
The Friends are optimistic that this is the best way forward to preserve the history of Bank Hall.
Their website readsg: “Such vast houses had no place after The Great War and gradually became left to dereliction and decay, owner and local authority alike unable to halt the decline.
“Perhaps it is due to the concealed and veiled nature of Bank Hall that so little appears to be commonly known about the details of its history.
“Indeed, most people from Leyland or Chorley would be at a loss to answer the question ‘Where is Bank Hall?’ even though it is little more than five miles from either of those towns.”
It adds: “The Hall is no longer occupied and has deteriorated to a very poor reflection of its former glory.
“Gone are the lime trees which flanked the drive to the front door.
“Gone are the grand stone lions that faithfully stood guard.
“The giant cedar with its huge spreading branches no longer casts its graceful shadow over the pleasure grounds.
“The tall chimneys have become overgrown with ivy, which has now claimed more than half of the building.
“The majestic clock tower has lost its northerly elevation which has fallen into the stairwell below, crashing through the 17th-century oak staircase.
“Dry rot has penetrated the fabric of the building with whole sections of the floor falling down and rain pouring through gaping holes in the roof.
“But despite the devastation that time and neglect has brought to this great house, it still retains an air of distinction and the very nature of its ruinous state adds to the mystique that encompasses the entire site.
“In the solitude of early morning, shrouded in mist, the rooks call from their look out in the tower.
“What events have taken place in the centuries of Bank Hall’s existence?
“What changes has it witnessed in the conditions of English rural life?”