Perhaps the most significant of the merchant houses in the history of Allerton is Allerton Hall itself. The wealthy Lathom family built the first house on the site back in the reign of James I. They held the lands of the estate from the 15th to the 17th century, but had them taken from them when they joined the ‘wrong’ side in the Civil War.
After the Lathoms, Richard Percival bought Allerton. He owned it from 1670 until 1736, when a James Hardman, Rochdale merchant, purchased the land.
The earliest parts of the current building were built by Hardman when he moved in. They were built of sandstone, and are considered to be the earliest examples of Palladianism in Liverpool. This innovation contributed to the decision to list Allerton Hall.
William Roscoe in Allerton Hall
When John died in 1754, his brother James moved in. James’s wife Jane outlived him, and stayed in the hall until her own death in 1799. She had been friends with the famous abolitionist William Roscoe, who now bought the house and moved in.
Roscoe demolished the remaining 17th century parts of the building (which are understood to have been dangerously under-maintained), and added new rooms to balance the design.
Bankruptcy forced Roscoe to sell his share of the house, and this was bought by one of his political allies, Pattison Ellames.
Cotton and the American Civil War
In the 1860s Richard Wright rented Allerton Hall. Wright was a cotton merchant and ship owner with family ties to the Fraser, Trenholm & Co merchant company. Fraser, Trenholm were based in South Carolina and funded the Southern states in their war effort against the north. Many in Liverpool had sided with the South because of the merchants’ links with cotton trading, and Richard Wright was one of those. In July 1861 the Confederate flag was flown above Allerton Hall.
The Hall is given to the city
Later in its history, Allerton Hall was owned by Lawrence Richardson Baily, and then Thomas Clarke. Clarke’s widow eventually donated the house and land to the city of Liverpool in 1926, and this forms Clarke Gardens today. (See also: Clarke Gardens Pillbox.)
The Hall was used as the regional headquarters of the National Fire Service during the Second World War. A blockhouse in the grounds of the house is testament to this use.
Today, the Hall is listed as a Grade II* building, with the gate piers, walls and railings on Woolton Road listed in their own right. After damaging fires in 1994 and 1995, the house was renovated. It’s now the Pub in the Park, and the former hothouse is used by the pub for its dining room.