No:17 Upton Park & stable block

Known as Holly Bank

For early history of the plot & its development

photograhed in 1987

The 1872 OS survey shows the two story coachhouse/stable block which though getting derelict was still in place in 1950. On the right the great entrance doors for the carriage: to the side of this, a double stable with a partition for two horses, and at the extreme left, the tack room with a fireplace. Upstairs, which was approached by a draw ladder was a hayloft where bales of hay still lay in 1950 but by this time the floor of the upper storey was wholly unstable and had to be demolitioned. None of the 19th century census records show a coachman living there. The site of the coachhouse/stable block is now a double garage but the original flooring clearly shows its usage with a cambered floor and drainage in the stable area. The tack room is still evident with its fireplace.

OS survey maps right through to the 1932 revision suggest that the coachhouse and its access drive were seperate from Holly Bank's grounds.

The washhouse block - which has been retained as a utility room - would appear to have been built at the time of the house. There was a well with a hand pump to take water up to a tank in the loft. The level guage still exists on the outside wall. Its life must have been fairly short since mains water came to the park in 1890.

There is a boundary shown in the OS surveys up to 1932; crossing the current lawn. This tallies with suspicion of wall foundation noted by the current owners.

  • The 1891 census records the residence in Holly Bank of Widow Mary Beaumont (60yrs) living on investments
    daughters Mary (34yrs); Florence (27yrs)
    son James (19yrs) - theology student
  • Acquired by William Shone of Oaklea (no:68) in 1896 presumably as landlord. It appears that he used a mortgage from a John Griffiths. Then mortgaged at £2011 to his son William in 1908 again as landlord. Tenants during this time being Mr Warner and then Major Fanshawe then Mrs Gladys Taylor.
  • Conveyed in 1918 for £830 by Horace Pritchard as Attorney on behalf of William Shone (grandson of founding father William Shone) - who was on war service - to Henry Speed recorded as 'a Gentleman' and no stated occupation. The earliest Park account records - 1921 - shows Henry Speed as the departing owner. The ground area now shown as 1222sq yds which corresponds with the current area being greater than the 1882 conveyence.
  • References in a conveyance of 4 May 1944 relate an earlier conveyance dated 5 April 1923 showing William,Edwin,Arthur and Emily Griffiths as joint tenants.
  • From 1921 until 1940 the Park accounts name farmers Messrs Griffiths (W.E. &A.) although from 1937 just A Griffiths. The 1939 Electoral role records Edwin and Arthur as the sole occupants of voting age. Edwin is known to have died 23 January 1944 and still resident of Holly Bank.
    The three Griffiths brothers are remembered very much in their roles - one the businessman in his winged collar; one the shopkeeper and one the housekeeper.
    (From 1925 Spring Villa (29) was owned by a John W Griffiths and family. Spring Villa backs onto Holly Bank and there are suggestions that a route through the boundary may once have existed. )

  • Conveyed 4 May 1945 to butcher Mr Arthur Astle of Stanton Drive Upton from Farmer Arthur Griffiths - as sole survivor- for £1400.
  • Conveyed 17 January 1947 to Major Charles Humphrey Rochfort Hyde .
  • Conveyed 23 December 1948 to Henry Armitage Darby Wade for £3400

  • Conveyed 20 March 1950 to Egryn Kenneth Davies, (known as Kenneth) who came to Chester to take up his appointment as Area Secretary of the CHESTER and NORTH WALES Law Society, at the founding of the Legal Aid scheme in England and Wales. He had previously worked for the Treasury Solicitor’s Department in London, but being bilingual, with elderly parents still living in North Wales, this appointment had the advantage of bringing him back to the area of his pre-war practice.
    As a lawyer, he was frequently called upon to advise UPPA on legal matters pertaining to the Park. Kenneth was also known as an accomplished musician and was an organist at City road.

    Kenneth took up residence with wife Lena and their young family - Howard, Rhoderick and John. Elizabeth was born while they lived in the Park.
    Rhoderick recalls many happy memories of his childhood years in the Park.

    photographed on a snowy day early in the Davies era showing the stable/coachhouse block and Spring Villa (no:29) background left.

    During the Davies era much of the derelict outbuildings had to be made safe for raising a young family. They demolished the great greenhouse that had obviously enabled the previous occupants to supplement their rations during and after the war (half the rear garden was given over to vegetables and fruit trees); it lay almost the full length of the far wall backing onto Mrs Griffiths’ garden (no:29), and was very dangerous. The old coach house - so tempting to adventurous children - was similarly part demolished. In the walled area in front of the coach house was a chicken coop. In the surviving greenhouse adjoining the washhouse was an old vine, which was lovingly tended for its occasional grapes. As regards the house; the large family kitchen with its range was still in place as was the separate walk-in larder. Today the modern kitchen is in the old skullery and the backdoor rather than entering the large family kitchen now enters a passageway with two side rooms.

    The Davies family left in July 1964.

  • The next owner occupier from September 1966 until July 1976 was Brigadier Rigby and family. During this period Wedgewood Benn was in the area and stayed overnight between engagements in Chester and then Aberystwyth.

  • Briefly until May 1979; the residents as tenants were then Roy & Sarah Darwen - an American family who are understood to have removed many of the downstairs doors to obtain the more openplan style. These doors have now been reinstated. The property had been bought by the Cabot Carbon company for the Darwen's use who have reflected that this was their favorite of all their homes.
  • William & Beryl Fieldhouse family from May 1979.
  • The Evans family from July 1982.

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