Daresbury hall was erected in the mid 1700’s by the Greenhall family in the Georgian style. The building itself has served most of its life as a Stately home and was last occupied by the Hill family.
The estate was converted to a military hospital during the Second World War and saw the construction of an additonal ward, the “Lewis Carroll Unit”. Following this the manor was sold back to the Greenhall family in the early 1950’s, but was not occupied until it was resold to the National Spastic Society (now known as Scope) in 1957 for £5000. The estate functioned as home and school for 52 patients and 75 members of staff., with the first patients suffering from physical handicaps. Additional outbuildings were erected near to the manor entrance to provide accommodation for the on-site carers. From an article from the BBC the approximate annual price per patient in 1986 was £12,500, which must have contributed to the closure of the facility.
Following the closure the building lay empty for many years until it was sold to a millionaire bachelor who returned the building to its former use as a stately home. However upon the owners death the building was left to deteriorate and is now unusable.
The building was most recently used by Zed Events to provide a “zombie survival experience” and the outbuildings are heavily graffitied with comments regarding the “apocalypse”.
Perhaps the most recent news regarding the site is the discovery of a cannabis farm in the main house. The farm had an estimated value of £750,000 and would have been the last place I would have expected to come across such a thing!
We were quite anxious approaching the site as there are warnings regarding guard dog patrols and the kennel were clearly visible from the street, however we decided to take our chances and whilst we did find their bowls, nobody got eaten!
The first buildings we entered were the 1960’s prefab buildings built by Scope to house the patient carers. Upon venturing upstairs we were confronted with some unexpectedly aggressive graffiti which was mildly disconcerting – until we came across the Zed Events sign!
The main attraction to this site is the swimming pool which is still in remarkably good condition. Had it been full I would have been tempted to have a dip, or at least push someone else in.
There is access to the main building but I would advise against going in there. The floors are rotten with damp and the ceilings are coming in. At one point we turned a corner and found a hole leading to a two storey drop – not good! Additionally there was not a great deal to see as the internal lighting is very poor and almost all of the internals have been removed.
Perhaps my favourite part of the explore was coming across a train line as it was so unexpected! It sat adjacent to a sea of unkempt grass and was perfectly manicured and littered with flowers. Someone must spend a lot of time to keep it looking as it does.
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