MARBURY Park will be a well known to many readers as a place to take the kids or to walk the dog.

But did you know the long gone hall was once owned by a Warrington man?

Marbury Park near Northwich was once the gardens to a privately owned house. A house had been there since at least the 13th century, when the Merburie family lived there.

Over the years it was rebuilt and altered. In 1708 the then-black and white timbered manor house, known as Marbury Hall, was bought by Richard Earl Rivers of Rocksavage. Following his death in 1712 it was sold to his son-in-law James, the fourth Earl of Barrymore.

In the early 1840s plans were drawn up to redesign the house completely. The design was based on the Palace of Fontainbleu, in France, and took many years to complete.

This grand house was passed down through the generations of the family until 1932, when Robert Raymond Smith Barry decided that the house would regretfully have to be sold.

It was bought by George Smith, a Warrington businessman who turned the estate into an exclusive country club complete with it’s own outdoor swimming pool.

The next chapter in its life came in 1940 when it was requisitioned by the army to be used as housing for both British and American soldiers. Roads were built throughout the estate which were lined with accommodation huts. Later these huts became a prisoner of war camp.

Once the war was over the military no longer needed the hall or the grounds and they were bought by ICI to be used as accommodation for employees and later as housing for people awaiting council housing.

In 1961 the hall and its nearby gardens were sold to a Manchester property developer. The remainder of the grounds, including the swimming pool, were retained by ICI.

The plan was to convert the hall into offices or apartments but this didn’t happen, and over the years the condition of the neglected building deteriorated until it was beyond saving. The hall was finally demolished in January 1969.

The swimming pool still remains in use today.

Sadly nothing of the hall itself remains.

Nick Colley is chairman of the Northwich and District Heritage Society. More old photographs can be seen at the Northwich History Past and Present page on Facebook.