Then & Now

1860-2017. Bank Hall, a Jacobean mansion in Bretherton, Lancashire built on the site of an older house in 1608 by the Banastres who were lords of the manor. Just 62 years later the family name came to end when Christopher Banastre left the estate to his two daughters upon his death in 1670. From then on the hall was extended during the 18th and 19th centuries by several families who came to live here, until the contents were auctioned in 1861 and the hall used as a holiday home and later leased to tenants. During the Second World War the Royal Engineers used it as a control centre, after which the estate was returned to the Lilfords whose offices moved to the east wing of the house until 1972 when the house was vacated. Bank Hall has slowly fallen into decline ever since, having been victim of just about every form of damage under the sun. In 2003 it was the first building to be featured in the BBC's Restoration television series, and it has relied heavily on volunteer efforts to keep it standing. The admirable action group 'Urban Splash' have plans to restore the house as apartments retaining the gardens, entrance hall and clock tower for public access, but the sheer complexity of the project has kept its progress extremely slow. However, it's fantastic to know that after sitting dormant for so long, Bank Hall will not only be restored to its former glory, but that it will in parts be open for everyone to enjoy and appreciate once the work is complete.