On the ‘Shawe

Aldershawe from above. This Google Earth imagery is from 2010. It's easy to see just how secluded this place is.

Since there’s been so much interest in the Aldershawe Estate, sate high on Harehurst Hill overlooking Lichfield, I thought I’d try and get some pictures of the place yesterday. It’s been part of my cycling world for years, but until it became part of the Harrison story, I’d never really thought about who lived there, or who built it. It’s quite a long way off the road, and no rights of way come close to the house.

It seems to be private apartments and houses now; in the mid-90’s, the stables were a craft village – indeed, some of the businesses are still listed on the likes of Scoot and Yell, despite having closed well over a decade ago. Now, though, there’s a livery stable, a handful of businesses, and it mostly seems to be residences. There’s one currently listed for sale with Bill Tandy.

The main house is certainly very handsome, and of it’s time. I find the roof interesting, it looks like it could be a real slate roof. I love the bays and gables. The style is echoed in the lodge at Claypit lane. The house frontage actually looks down to Lichfield through a wide avenue of trees, lining either side of a paddock. It’s quite a place.

If anyone has any further memories or information, I’d be glad to hear it.

I can't be sure, but I think the main house is flats now. In the summer, you can't see it at all.

The win house is approached down a long drive. I'm pretty sure there used to be a small, private chapel at the rear.

Sylistically engaging with a vey odd looking roof. Real slate, perhaps?

The stables and yard are set to the south. These were the craft village. Converted in the mid 90's during a local fad for such attractions, I think it had gone by 1998.

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10 Responses to On the ‘Shawe

  1. pedro says:

    On April 5th 1912 the Lichfield Mercury reports the Marriage of Miss Harrison of Aldershawe (Quiet Ceremony at Wall)

    Captain Cecil O Ritchie, 2nd South Staffs Reg, and Mary Gertrude Harrison married privately owing to a recent family bereavement. It took place at St. John’s Church at Wall.

    What caught my eye, and truly amazed me, was that it then listed almost a column and a half of presents and who had given them. I estimate a list of around 250, and at a guess a third of them include the word silver!

    I wonder if it was the fashion at this time to publish presents, and indeed to enjoy your name in print as a generous person?

    What sickens me about the list is the opulence of a family who are exploiting the workers in the area. Blackmailing them to join the TA so as to get work, opting out of the Worker’s Compensation Act, against the Miners’ Eight Hour Bill.


  2. pedro says:

    Meanwhile back in January 1912 in a letter to the Lichfield Mercury, entitled Rats and Sparrows, WB Harrison revealed his plan to get rid of rats and sparrows.

    Last year he had offered his employees 1d per rats tail, 1d for three old sparrows, 1d for six young sparrows, and 1d for twelve sparrow eggs. It cost him £4 2s 11d and he destroyed 523 rats, 1,121 sparrows, 336 young sparrows, and 503 eggs. He says that proper precautions were made against any being paid for twice.

    If others would adopt the same plan, the loss from these pests would be very much reduced. It would also find a little pocket money for the boys, as it is astonishing what a keen interest they take in it.

    ….The more I find out about these bastions of society the more it is annoying me! I can imagine WB counting each item as it arrives. He has a stick, which is a little above the average length of a rat’s tail, with which he measures each one. He personally decides the age of each sparrow tending to place most in the young category, and has a strict number of blotches on each egg.

    …There we no young boys named in the list of contributors to the presents mentioned in the previous post!

  3. pedro says:

    Latest..Read all about it!

    19 February 1904 the Lichfield Mercury reports…

    We are informed that Captain Harrison of Aldershaw has sold his well known bull “Lord Norman” for £500, for export to South Africa.


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  5. pedro says:


    It is not clear when Captain William Bealey Harrison came to Aldershawe, but it must have been some time before the first mention in 1885. It appears that the House was bought in 1894, but had been built some years before, and as there is not much more accommodation in Aldershawe he perhaps rented before purchase?

    However when WB died in 1912 the Estate passed to his son WE Harrison. The wedding of WE’s daughter took place in 1912 at Wall and the present list can be seen in Bob’s post…A not so private function.


    The Mansion, about 339 acres of arable and pasture land, and 15 workmen’s cottages were sold to Sir Richard Cooper in 1913. Also in October there was a sale of the old man’s oil and watercolour collection including works by the artists: A Elmore, JB Burgess, Thomas Faed, Sidney Cooper, Walter Hunt, BW Leader and others.

    The same estate agents that sold the property had recently negotiated the purchase of Wychnor Estate, some 2700 acres, for Colonel WE Harrison.

    So Onwards and Upwards!

  6. Pedro says:

    Capt Harrison’s New House.

    The Building News of last week contains a brief description of the new house Capt Harrison is having built for himself at Aldershawe. The following is the description: this residence, now approaching completion, for Capt Harrison, occupies the sight of an old house, of which nothing remains excepting the octagonal detached building shown on the view, and which was used as a larder. The site is a very beautiful one, about 2 miles from the city of Litchfield, lovely views of the Cathedral and the cathedral pools being obtainable from the windows. The house is approached through an avenue of beech trees, said to be the finest in the country; one of these trees, blown down on March 24, 1895, measured in height 75 feet, extreme width of 137 feet, the girth around the butt was 19 feet 6 inches, and the diameter of the base of the tree at the groundline was 21 fleet. The building is executed in local bricks of a light red colour with terracotta dressings: the gables are all half-timbered in solid oak with the intervening spaces plastered and finished creamy white. The roofs are covered with local brown tiles. The house was begun under the superintendency of the late Samuel Loxton, and has been carried out by his successors and Messrs JH Hickton and HE Farmer, architects, of Walsall and Wednesbury, the building builder being Mr A Lynex and the total cost about £5300.

    Lichfield Mercury August 1896

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  8. Ivor Mortimer says:

    I came across your articles about Aldershawe Hall by pure luck and found them very interesting. I stayed at the hall (on and off) between 1978 and 1982 when it was a hostel run by the YMCA for the apprentices of Babcock & Wilcox. We used to be taken by bus to the training centre in Tipton daily.

  9. Andy Stott says:

    Me too! I recall being amazed when the driver pulled our coach into the grounds of what looked like a mansion . . . having just thought to myself, “Yeah, I bet THAT’S where we’re staying!”
    I recollect Babcocks selling Aldershawe either late ’82 or ’83 and its eventual purchase by the chairman of Aston Villa, a chap called Ellis I think?
    Regardless of my all too brief stay, (just one year), I vividly remember the Hall to have fantastic grounds and some lovely architecture. Touring the grounds and its three ‘lakes’ provided a wonderful place to relax. I even discovered to the front of the house and the far left of what appeared to be the main lake, what to me seemed like a tiny Chapel, no more than 6-8ft long!
    My parents came to visit one weekend and were also amazed at the beauty of the building an location. True, the inside had understandably been somewhat denuded of fine furnishings etc, however the floors, doors, windows, main staircase etc, had a distinct grandeur and warmth that I remember to this day.
    I did return some 20 years ago to find access blocked, however I would like to (perhaps unwisely?) visit Aldershawe again. I just hope it’s character and beauty remain despite any changes that may have been imposed. I would be truly saddened should my memories be replaced.

  10. martin says:

    It was sold by Doug Ellis to dudley property company SEP Properties, where the Indian family Sanghera’s now live,I am their Sub contractor Decorator, im there a few months a year maintenance
    I have lots of photos fro. Inside and around the property

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