Hoole Road - South Side

The Shell Garage site – Moor House and Moor Park

Documents in the Cheshire Record Office (D3449) enable the history of this side of Hoole Road as far as Canadian Avenue to be traced. In 1708, the Mayor of Chester leased two fields on Hoole Rake (Hoole Road) and St. Ann’s Rake (Hoole Lane) for 99 years to Thomas Kelsall of Mickle Trafford. In 1721 the land on the two Rakes was divided into several fields including Golden Grove. At this time Thomas Kelsall re-assigned the residue of the Lease to Richard Gildart of Liverpool. In subsequent years the Lease was sublet and transferred on several occasions. It was eventually owned by the Rathbone family from the Wirral. The illustration below shows these fields which were advertised for sale in 1852. The red area became Moor Park and the green area became Golden Grove. This stretched from Hamilton Street to Canadian Avenue and included the site of All Saints Church. The field on Hoole Lane was coloured yellow.


Lands for sale in 1852

A daughter of the Rathbones, Mary Wilson, inherited the land; her husband died and Thomas Tolver (1752-1828) befriended her. The 1789 Cowdroy’s Directory lists him as a gentleman owning lands in Hoole. He was however described by his grandson, Sir James Paget (1814-1899) who became an eminent surgeon, as being “a kind of self elected fine gentleman, highly self estimated, who never engaged himself in business. He married a rich widow and lived on the remains of her property, helped later in life by that of an old lady who lived with him and two of his daughter – Maria and Francis – who had incomes of their own.” Thomas Tolver benefited from the inheritance of Mary Wilson in 1797 and himself came to own the lands; he was declared bankrupt in 1800 when he was living at Brook Cottage in Flookersbrook where he died in 1828.

Bryant’s Map 1831 showing the location of Brook Cottage

The lands previously owned by Mary Wilson were then inherited by Thomas Tolver’s three daughters – Sarah Elizabeth (Paget) (1778-1843), Francis, also known as Fanny (Bagnall) (1772-1851) and Maria Jane (Moor) (1781-1859).

The Tithe Maps c.1839 show that the plots of land on the south side of Hoole Road were owned by Francis Bagnall and some of the eastern plots were held jointly with William Hamilton. This was because the Hamilton family in 1808-9 had purchased the vested and contingent estate of the remaining children of the Burrows and Tonna families who at some stage had been tenants.

Tithe Maps Apportionments c.1839

Francis Bagnall was also the owner of a house and gardens and the 1841 Census and an 1848 Directory show that this was Brook Cottage. She died in 1851 but the Census of that year shows that her sister, Maria Moor was living with her.


Census 1841                                                            Census 1851

During the early 1850’s the lands were sold and by 1853 Maria Moor had given her name to Moor Park which went as far as Hamilton Street. The successive advertisements show how the land was eventually marketed as being of superior quality, with good drainage. It was to be a private gated development and this explains why there are gate posts to Derby Place, Stone Place and Westminster Road, which also had a boundary wall across it (see Westminster Road article). Beyond that, the fields were listed as Golden Grove.


Advertisements for Moor Park Land March 1852 and October 1853

George Meakin, a railway contractor, who had worked for Thomas Brassey on the construction of the new Chester General Railway Station bought a large plot on which The Elms was built. Brook Cottage was demolished to make way for Moor House, which was described in the advert for its auction in 1859 following Maria Moor’s death as a “genteel private residence with exterior gardens and pleasure grounds”.

Moor House built 1850 front view 1950s Moor House built 1850 rear view 1950s


Ordnance Survey Map 1875


Sale of Moor House and Effects 1859

Both Francis Bagnall and Maria Moor were wealthy ladies, prominent in subscribing to local causes, which included a donation to the building of Christ Church School in Peploe Street (opened 1857) and the Patriotic Fund. In 1816, they both marched in the first procession of the Flookersbrook, Newton & Hoole Friendly Society from Flookersbrook to the Cathedral; they were still taking part in the Friendly Society marches in 1840 when Francis was 68 and Maria was 60. Frances Bagnall’s husband was Charles Bagnall who died in 1849 aged 60; they were estranged and the record of his burial in St. Mary’s, Lambeth, show his abode as being ‘The Workhouse’. Maria Moor’s husband, Henry, was a naval officer who served under Sir Thomas Trowbridge and was lost at sea in the Indian Ocean. Their son, Henry Trowbridge Moor (1803 to 1837) was a Doctor and Physician at Chester Infirmary. He died aged 34 “cut off in the opening of his professional career by fever caught in attendance on the poor” (Memorial inscription Chester Cathedral).


Subscription list Christ Church School 1852

The Trustees of Maria Moor sold Moor House to George Haworth in March 1860, a colliery owner from Tryddyn; he appears there in the 1861 Census and he was a partner in a number of mining ventures in North Wales; he died in 1865. The occupants of Moor House for the next fifteen years were the Wimperis family. The father, Edmund Richard was the Chief Accountant at the Leadworks and one of his sons, Edmund Morison Wimperis (see Wikipedia article) became a well-known artist; Edmund never lived at Moor House but was brought up in a cottage at the Leadworks where at that time his father was a mere clerk. Other members of the family were also artistic. Edmund Richard was the Chairman of the Hoole Local Board in 1873, and he was a Guardian of the Poor; he died in 1879.

By the time of the 1881 Census, Moor House had become a boarding school run by Thomas L. Thomas and his wife Emily, which had 15 pupils, mainly girls and 4 teachers. (The Thomas’s had previously run a school at Ash Tree House and went on to run another school in Boughton).


1881 Census showing pupils at Moor House School

By 1891 it was again a private house occupied by Thomas Smith, a draper; in 1893 he was fined 10 shillings and costs for keeping a dog without a license. In the 1901 Census, Joshua Taylor (a railway agent) was the occupant and his widow, Elizabeth Dinel continued to live at Moor House until the 1940’s.

Moor House (plain chimney!) at the end of Hawthorne Villas

In the early 1950’s, Ernest Newport and his son-in-law George Kimpton were recorded as living there and they converted it to become Moor Guest House. It was demolished in 1963 when the Shell Filling Station was built on the site. An article on 'Moor House in the 1950s and 1960s' provided by Damian Kimpton is attached.

The Filling Station on Hoole Road before its opening in 1963

Acknowledgements:  Cheshire Record Office for records of Moor Park and Tithe Map Apportionments

Article researched and written by Ralph Earlam, August 2017, Hoole History & Heritage Society

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