Harrison Home


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Harrison Home, Liverpool Road South, Maghull, L31 8BS


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Statutory Address:
Harrison Home, Liverpool Road South, Maghull, L31 8BS

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Sefton (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:


Former epileptic home, now a nursing home, 1902, built for the Maghull Homes. Red brick with roughcast upper floors, deep pitched roof with replaced concrete roof tiles, brick chimneystacks. 2 1/2 storeys. Design influenced by Richard Norman Shaw's "Old English" styling.

Reasons for Designation

Harrison Home, constructed in 1902 as part of the Maghull Homes, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: it possesses a skilfully articulated and distinguished Norman Shaw-influenced design that is more like a country villa than a welfare institution; reflecting the first-class patients it originally catered for;

* Interior survival: the building's original internal arrangements and spatial planning, including the separation of the residents' spaces from the service rooms, remain clearly readable, and numerous original features survive, including doors, tiled and floorboard floors, the main stair and service stair, and fireplaces in the two principal ground-floor rooms;

* Planning: the provision of individual private bedrooms and separate bathrooms directly reflects the requirements of the home's first-class patients; providing a degree of privacy and comfort that they would have been used to;

* Historic interest: the Maghull Homes were established to enable epileptics to receive schooling and skills training, as well as accommodation and medical care that would facilitate a better quality of life, and they represent the first provision of residential care for epileptics in England. As one of best surviving buildings from this specialist institution, Harrison Home is an important physical reminder of this pioneering early provision.


In C19 England a lack of knowledge about epilepsy and a lack of treatment meant that epileptics were often treated as outcasts and were excluded from schools and workplaces; the latter often being dangerous for epileptics due to the industrial nature of much of the work during this period. As a result, many epileptics were poorly educated and often destitute, as well as stigmatised by society. Due to the high numbers of destitute people living in Liverpool in the C19, the city was the first place in England to make special provision for people with chronic epilepsy.

Henry Cox, a wealthy Liverpool merchant, and Dr William Alexander were both involved with the Liverpool Central Relief Society in the late-C19. Dr Alexander was well-known for his surgical expertise, and as the Resident Medical Officer at Brownlow Hill Workhouse, Liverpool, he had many epileptic patients. He consequently became interested in surgery for the condition and wrote numerous articles for medical journals, as well as an influential book entitled 'The Treatment of Epilepsy' in 1889. In 1888 Henry Cox offered to fund a hospital for epileptics in Liverpool, but Dr Alexander believed a country location to be more suitable, and later that year Maghull Homes was established at the Manor House, Maghull, leasing an existing late-C18 country house.

Maghull Homes was the first of its kind in England and the founders visited Bethel Epileptic Colony, near Bielefield, Germany for inspiration. The Bethel Colony had been established in 1867, and by the late-1880s it had grown to a community of approximately 3000 people. However, although the visitors were impressed by the social and occupational opportunities provided by the colony, Dr Alexander was concerned about the medical treatment of many of the patients, with many exhibiting signs of over-dosage. In addition, the colony was foremost a religious institution and medical care was secondary, with patients encouraged to 'look to the next world' rather than this one for a permanent cure.

Maghull Homes catered for three classes of patient and was run by a committee mainly comprised of Liverpool business and professional men who were associated with charitable effort in the city. Patients were self-funded, either through paying themselves, by their friends or family, or by the guardians of their home union. The much lower third-class fee only covered basic provisions so these patients, who provided the majority of residents, were expected to carry out menial tasks at the home.

In the years following 1888 and into the C20, neighbouring land was purchased and Maghull Homes was expanded with new purpose-built homes being constructed, including in 1902, the Harrison Home. By 1975 the Maghull Homes had 11 homes, as well as other buildings, including a farm, occupation centres and clubhouse; providing accommodation, schooling and employment on the estate. Harrison Home was named after Frederic Harrison, the President of the Homes in 1902 who operated a shipping line out of Liverpool. The home was constructed by Brown and Backhouse at a cost of £5421 and opened in June 1902. It was built for 11 first-class patients, as well as a matron, nurses, servants and a few third-class patients as attendants, and 'enabled wealthy epileptics to live in the comfort to which they were accustomed'; first-class space at the home was advertised in newspapers around the world, including The Times of India.

In the latter half of the C20, following changing thinking in the treatment of epilepsy and a decrease in the need for epileptic homes, Maghull Homes (now known as the Parkhaven Trust) diversified into other areas. As a result, since 1987 Harrison Home has been in use as a care home for the elderly, and most of the other homes have been demolished.


PLAN: Reverse L-shaped plan with a principal entrance range aligned north-west - south-east and an additional accommodation and service range attached at a right angle to the south-east end of the entrance range's north-east elevation. The building is set within its original gardens, which are located to the north-west, south-west and south-east sides, along with an entrance forecourt to the north-east side.

EXTERIOR: Harrison Home is constructed of red brick with roughcast upper floors and has a deep roof with concrete roof tiles that were added in the 1980s, replacing the original clay tiles. The building has brick wall and ridge stacks and a deep dentil eaves cornice that runs around each elevation. The windows are a mixture of multipaned sashes and casements with moulded brick sills.

Principal north-east elevation: the front elevation facing towards Liverpool Road South has an asymmetrical multi-gabled composition. A central projecting, 2-storey bay with an open-pedimented gable houses the main entrance, which consists of a wide 6-panel door set within a sandstone doorcase incorporating a semi-circular pediment supported by paired engaged-columns. Above the doorway is a Venetian window, the centre light of which interrupts the horizontal cornice of the pediment, and a prominent sill band below continues around to the sides. Set to the gable apex is a painted oval plaque with stylised characters bearing the date '1902' and the name 'Harrison Home'. Two full-height outer bays also project forward underneath open-pedimented gables; that to the right incorporates a keyed oculus to the gable and wide 5-light casement windows below and dormer windows to the side returns, whilst that to the left incorporates both sash and casement windows, including a round-headed stair window. Inserted in between the left gabled bay and central bay is a late-C20, flat-roofed, roughcast-rendered lift shaft, and inserted to the right of the entrance bay is a small single-storey, late-C20, lean-to toilet block. Projecting forward from the far left of the elevation at a right angle is a 5-bay accommodation/service range with sash windows to the two lower floors and dormer windows to the second floor.

South-east side elevation: this 9-bay elevation has sash windows to the ground and first floors and roof dormers above; two of the sash windows have later inserted ventilators and one to the first floor has been replaced with a uPVC window. Set to the far left of the elevation is the south-east gable end of the entrance range, which incorporates a substantial wall stack to the centre (mirrored on the north-west gable end) and an original doorway to the ground-floor left with a panelled door with glazed upper lights and a multipaned overlight. An additional bay to the far right of the elevation is set back and forms part of the north-east return, which consists of a full-height projecting bay (containing the service stair) with a raised hipped roof set above a multipaned lunette window, which has slightly thicker outer mullions referencing a Diocletian window, and multipaned casement windows to each side return. The building's dentil cornice follows the eaves line and also forms a broken cornice below the second-floor level. Attached to the ground floor are two single-storey brick outbuildings linked to each other by a high brick wall; the whole enclosing a small yard area, which is accessed by a doorway on the north-east side containing a plank and batten door. One of the outbuildings retains its original tiled roof, but the other has replaced concrete tiles. Both have multipaned casement windows to their two outer side walls and a mixture of doorways and windows facing into the yard.

South-west garden elevation: this 7-bay elevation overlooks the main part of the garden and is formed of gabled bays alternating with 2-storey canted bays surmounted by flat-roofed dormer windows. The windows to the first and second floors have all been replaced in the same style as the originals (those to the second floor are of uPVC) and attached to the ground-floor left is a large late-C20 conservatory.

North-west side elevation: this elevation incorporates the north-west gable end of the entrance range, which is similarly styled to that at the south-east end, and has sash windows to both the ground and first floor flanking a wall stack. Set back slightly to the left is the north-west return of the front elevation's northernmost projection, which has a multipaned casement window to the ground floor, a later fire door and fire escape stair to the first floor, and a roof dormer.

INTERIOR: internally there are floorboard floors (mainly hidden under later coverings), and door architraves and original 4-panel doors survive throughout. Most fireplaces have been removed, but chimneybreasts survive, and the ground-floor rooms in the entrance range possess simple moulded cornicing. An entrance vestibule with a tiled floor and original timber double doors with glazed upper panels leads into a large entrance hall accessing a ground-floor hallway/corridor and rooms at the north-west end of the building. A window in the entrance hall's north-west wall has been blocked-up following the addition of a late-C20 toilet extension and a high-level, multipaned overlight above an adjacent doorway has also been blocked-up by the extension's lean-to roof. Each floor has a corridor running alongside the front-facing walls with rooms located off to the garden sides and in the front projections; the rooms include individual bedrooms, separate bathrooms and linen/storage rooms with original shelving. Two rooms at each north-west and south-east end of the ground floor have been knocked through to create single spaces, both containing classical-style fireplaces; that to the north-west end is a lounge, whilst that to the south-east end is now a dining room with an inserted opening in the north-east wall providing a serving/viewing hatch into a kitchen area behind. The home's main dog-leg stair is located to the centre front of the entrance range and has carved stick balusters, tapering square newel posts and pendants, and storage/airing rooms off the half-landing levels; an adjacent lift is a modern addition. A further mid-C20 stair located at the north-west end of the entrance range provides access between the first and second floors and fire escape. The service range retains some original tiled floors and at the north-east end is an open-well service stair, which is a slightly simpler version of the main stair with plain stick balusters, tapering square newel posts, and pendants, and toilets located off the half-landings.

The outbuildings contain workshops, storage and toilets.


Books and journals
Barclay, J , The First Epileptic Home in England: A Centenary History of the Maghull Homes 1888-1988, (1990)
Pevsner, N, Pollard, R, The Buildings of England: Lancashire, Liverpool and the South-West, (2006)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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