‘The lost hall’ which has now been saved is remembered over the years

Bank Hall, Bretherton.
Bank Hall, Bretherton.

Nestled in spectacular grounds in Bretherton, this Jacobean mansion has enjoyed a fine history.

But the Grade II* listed Bank Hall’s recent existence has been somewhat less grand.

Campaigners are celebrating after securing £1.6m to restore the mansion to its former glory, after years of neglect meant crumbling walls and a collapsed roof.

The hall has been described as a ‘hidden gem’ due to its position off a country line and behind a cloak of trees.

And even now, relatively little is known about its history.

It is thought the earliest parts of the hall were built back in the 1600s by the Banastre family. A little later a four storey clock tower was built.

The building was passed on through generations and, now in ownership of the Legh family, it was restructured in the 1830s.

This included a drawing room wing, a main entrance porch, and altering the south-facing garden.

Various additions were made to the site over the years while it still remained in residential use, including adding a swimming pool.

The hall eventually stopped being lived in, and in 1940, the Royal Engineers took over the site as a communications centre until the end of the war.

The final family to live in the site left in the 1970s, and since then the building has been left derelict.

Over the years, it has been a target for vandals and years of neglect meant large sections have become overgrown and there are gaping holes in the roof.

The future for Bank Hall looked bleak until August 1995, when the Bank Hall Action Group was formed with the aim of protecting and restoring the heritage of the site.

A campaign was also launched by the Chorley Guardian to ‘Save Bank Hall’.

This was followed by the building being featured on the BBCs Restoration programme where it narrowly missed out in winning a pot of cash to help restore the site.

But the acclaim that came with it brought in a whole new set of visitors and campaigners continued to fight to save the future of the building for visitors to enjoy.

Last week, the Heritage Lottery Fund announced they would be ploughing £1.6m in to getting the building back to working order.

It is hoped that when the work is finished, the Bank Hall Action Group will be able to give guided tours of the site.

Do you have pictures or memories of Bank Hall? Call 01257 264911.