Bank Hall, Bretherton, Chorley, Lancashire – Saving a Ruined Hall

Bank Hall was a substantial 17th century country house standing in ornamental parkland. Its earliest sections were largely removed when the house was remodelled in 1832 by the famous architect, George Webster, although the four-storey tower survives unaltered. Last occupied in 1945, it became a shell with no roof or windows and collapsed floors – an impossible case everyone thought.

It was more than half a century in this condition until the intervention of John Miller supported by local people, who all believed that, yes, it could indeed be saved. Today, the impossible has been achieved as Bank Hall is fully restored as private apartments. These are styled in a contemporary manner where the bare brick walls of the former ruin form the backdrop to the modern furnishings.

The saving of the Hall was achieved by Heritage Trust for the North West working with the Bank Hall Action Group and the Heritage Lottery Fund which provided a grant for the restoration and conversion of the house. However, a viable scheme was only possible with the assistance of a significant amount of enabling development. Urban Splash were appointed the preferred developer and the scheme is now coming to completion. Funding for a heritage centre and meeting room in the tower was also secured as part of the plan while the garden is to be restored for public use.

The restoration of Bank Hall has been an outstanding success despite early set-backs caused by the financial crash. The subsequent decade of austerity meant that private sector and public grant funding became extremely scarce.

Bank Hall is John Miller’s swansong for Heritage Trust for the North West. He has now handed the project over to Liz Moss who is now charged with completing the heritage centre in the tower and establishing the public garden. The completion of Bank Hall is an exciting moment in the life of the Trust

These photos of the completed Bank Hall were taken in July 2021 by the architectural photographer, Andy Marshall.