Harden not so fast, sunshine!

Untitled 13

‘Harden hall’ listed under Walsall in the Historic England red box archive. Close, but no cigar.

For a few weeks now, I’ve been featuring images here from an archive I haven’t named, but   is remarkable – not just for the content, but for the quirkiness and inaccuracy of some of the content.

The Historic England – England’s Places archive features images digitised from the Architectural ‘red box’ Archive: that is, it’s a collection of pictures from across England – with some notes – covering what have been considered to be historically important buildings, many taken just before their subjects were destroyed or altered.

The Historic England folk are the people who created the Britain from Above project, too.

I’m unclear how many of the images came to be in the archive; most of the local ones seem to have originated from defunct council collections. Whilst the images are remarkable and fascinating, there seem to be many errors – we found that a level crossing filed under Burntwood was actually in Uttoxeter, and reader and historian Ian Pell points out below that ‘Harden Hall, Walsall’ featured last week is actually Arden Hall, Bredbury, Cheshire and therefore nowhere near Walsall at all.

Arden Hall c1795

(H)Arden Hall, Bredbury, Cheshire. Definitely not Walsall. Image from RIBApix, ref ‘Harden Hall (or Arden Hall) engraving ref:- RIBA 18794’. Image supplied by Ian Pell.

You can see the card for ‘Harden Hall’ here. I’m a bit at a loss with it, to be perfectly honest. Suggestions of what has actually gone on there welcome.

Not that I’d deride such an important collection, but it is somewhat odd. Anyway, do pop over for a look and share anything curious you find. You can visit this astounding collection here. Note also that some towns are under multiple, or odd categories; note the lack of Brownhills, under which it lists ‘Hammerwich‘ and ‘Walsall‘, but searching ‘Aldridge’ throws up ‘Aldridge – Brownhills‘.

My sincerest thanks to Kate Cardigan from Lichfield Lore for pointing this archive out – it’s sucked me in for hours on end, and I think readers will find it fascinating.

Arden Hall, Bredbury 4

Arden Hall as it survives today – Image supplied by Ian Pell, from Keith and Elizabeth Jaggers, posted as part of an article at Landed Families of Britain and Ireland.

Anyhow, here’s the wonderfully knowledgable Ian Pell on the Harden Hall that wasn’t…

Hi Folks

Harden Hall I believe is actually ‘Arden Hall’, Bredbury, Cheshire.

It was a 1597 Tudor house overlooking the Mersey, owned by a ‘junior’ branch of the Arden’s of Warwickshire. By the early 1800’s it had become a farmhouse, having been sold by the family.

In the period 1823-33 it was described as ‘falling into decay’ and by 1866 it had become roofless and parts of the walls had collapsed. The ruins I believe still exist today as part of a housing develpoment.

You can read about it in this article from the Landed Families of England and Ireland blog here.

An 1795 engraving of the hall is held in the RIBA collection.

Kind regards

Thanks to Ian, as ever bang on the money. Anything to add? Please do! Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

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2 Responses to Harden not so fast, sunshine!

  1. Andy Dennis says:

    Well done, Ian! I’d thought about Hawarden (also pronounced Harden), Flintshire, but didn’t seem to fit.

  2. Pingback: In Coalpool did Brewer a pleasure ground erect? | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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