Historic Lancashire Tower will be opened to the public for the first time in 370 years

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The public will be welcomed inside one of Lancashire’s most historic towers for the first time ever this weekend.

On Sunday, December 11, Prospect Tower at the Grade II* listed Bank Hall in Bretherton will open its doors as home to a brand-new exhibition and community space.

Visitors to the exhibition will discover the fascinating history of the home, its inhabitants and the journey the Hall has been on to get to where it is today.

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History of the hall

Bank Hall, Bretherton.Bank Hall, Bretherton.
Bank Hall, Bretherton.

Over 20 years in the making, Bank Hall in Lancashire has completed its renovation journey and has been restored to its former glory.

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Bank Hall in Bretherton: The amazing story of how this beautiful building is bei...

Originally completed in 1608, the building began its life as the manorial seat of the Banastre family, and was passed down to other high profile families – including the Legh family and the Lilford family.

Prospect Tower, Bank HallProspect Tower, Bank Hall
Prospect Tower, Bank Hall

The Lilford family used the Hall as a holiday home and it remained in their family, until 2017 when ownership was signed over to Heritage Trust for the North West.

Disrepair and restoration

The house fell into disrepair after being abandoned in the 1970s, leading to it being placed on the Heritage at Risk Register.

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In 1995, The Friends of Bank Hall embarked on their campaign to save the manor house, which was instrumental in unlocking a grant of £2.2million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Visitors can now see artefacts inside the HallVisitors can now see artefacts inside the Hall
Visitors can now see artefacts inside the Hall

The balance of the £6m costs were met by Next Big Thing Developments assisted by the provision of planning consent for additional residential development in a nearby area of the grounds.

The work of The Friends, in conjunction with Heritage Trust for the North West, in looking after the grounds and clearing the vegetation encroaching the manor house, is the reason that Bank Hall was finally removed from the Heritage at Risk Register in November 2022.

What is Prospect Tower?

Added to the impressive manor house in Bretherton between 1650-60, Prospect Tower is one of the Hall’s standout architectural features, originally designed to provide views of the gardens and wider landscape.

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During the renovationDuring the renovation
During the renovation

The tower is still standing thanks to a Historic England grant for emergency repairs and scaffolding. Offered in 2002, this prevented the tower from collapsing before a new use was found for the hall.

It is now home to a brand-new exhibition and community space.

"Captivating heritage”

Louise Sutherland of The National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “We’re very proud, that thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, this spectacular manor has been saved for the local community and future generations to enjoy and continue to build on its captivating heritage.”

Elizabeth Moss, Heritage Trust for the North West, said: “It’s wonderful that this stunning building has been brought back to life. The positive tenacity and passion of The Friends of Bank Hall over the years has been essential in realising the extraordinary restoration of the house."

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John Howard, Chair of Friends of Bank Hall, said: “The story is far from over as we look to a new era for the house and gardens with the opening of the Prospect Tower and Exhibition, and the plans for the restoration of the gardens, which will start with the Potting Sheds, Greenhouse and Walled Garden.”

When is it open to visitors?

Following the first public opening on Sunday, December 11, Bank Hall will be open to visitors on Wednesday and Sundays throughout February. Tickets can be booked at https://www.tickettailor.com/events/heritagetrustforthenorthwest/804282/

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