Case study: Oakamore Road, Staffordshire (West Midlands)
List entry number: 1204735
Background and history
This small country house was built in 1712 for Mrs Grosvenor. She was the grand-daughter of Sir Matthew Hale, the Lord Chief justice of England 1670-1676. The design is symmetrical. The combination of red brick, decorative stone detailing and small overall scale is immediately appealing.
The front elevation is just five windows wide and two and a half storeys high. Heavy stone quoins to the corners support a deep decorated timber cornice. Each window has a stone surround, the central one is richly embellished with drapes of stone foliage. Beneath it, the front door is set up a flight of six steps within a fine Baroque doorcase. The family coat of arms is set over the door. The whole composition creates a sense of lavish grandeur and stylish living.
Hales Hall continued as a family house, changing hands many times, until the present owner's family grew up and moved away. The grounds around the house were sold to become a caravan and camping park.
Hales Hall is just outside Cheadle with the entrance off Oakamoor Road. The large fish pond to the west of the hall survives and new ponds have been made in the caravan park. To the north of the house the former stables and outbuildings still form part of the property. To the south, the planted walks and kitchen garden have long been swept away. This is where the caravan park reception is located.
Is it at risk?
Hales Hall was added to the Heritage at Risk Register in 2015.
The hall is no longer in use and the condition of the building has steadily declined. The roof is now leaking and there are worries about its structure.
Rainwater goods are generally in poor condition and leaking water saturates the brickwork in places. Ferns are growing out of the gutters and downpipes. Failure of guttering in the cornice is resulting in rotting timber and loss of decorative detail. Much of the exterior joinery is in poor condition with broken and missing windows. The building is vulnerable to vandalism.
What's the current situation?
Hales Hall is currently under offer with Donald Cope and Co of Cheadle. A new owner with the means to repair the building is badly needed. The property could still be suitable as a family home. There may be potential for conversion of the stables and outbuildings to further residential or other use.
The proximity of the caravan site may make the building less attractive to new owners.