A Brief History

The earliest firm evidence we have for the occupation of Hare Hill House dates back to 1775/6 when Laurence Newall took up occupancy with his new bride Elizabeth.


Following an unsuccessful auction sale in 1838, a small part of the House was modified by Henry Newall in the mid-19th Century with the addition of a ground and first floor bay window extension, a conservatory, hothouse and front porch. Following the death of Henry Newall senior in 1886, the building may have laid empty until being adopted by Littleborough Urban District Council (LUDC) as their new offices in 1901.


The inside of the House has a considerable number of historically important features dating through the entirety of the House’s many incarnations, some examples of which are:


  • An air filtration unit in the cellar that dates to October 1939 is one of only two we have been able to trace, the other being in the Imperial War Museum in London. This makes the one in Hare Hill House possibly the only example of the unit still in situ with all of its installation pipework intact. The Cellars also contain many features from both the Georgian and Victorian eras through to its incarnation as part of the UK’s “Four Minute Warning System” complete with a red phone!


  • On the first floor and dating from 1901, is the LUDC Council Chamber most of which, including the furniture, is still intact and easily restorable thus making it of regional, if not National, importance.


  • The first floor, being the family bedrooms is largely as it was with bedrooms and nursery rooms that still include many original features.


  • There are many features from the House’s Regency and Victorian incarnations in place including two fireplaces which have been dated by tiling experts to 1880. Whilst much of the Victorian dining room was destroyed by conversion into a series of small offices during RMBC’s occupancy, some of the original Georgian/Victorian decorations exist as does the grand door that led out to the conservatory installed by Henry Newall. The Victorian Morning room which looks out over Hare Hill Park towards Holy Trinity Church still has pressed metal coving which, we are informed, is both unusual and probably important.


  • There are also many Georgian features still in situ throughout the House including wall decoration in the former dining room, most of the coving, the servant’s quarters (most of which is still as they were complete with Georgian, Regency and Victorian features).


  • A more recent discovery is of a freso that extends from the front entrance hallway all the way to the top of the main staircase and across all the landings. Professor Gill Chitty from York University’s Department of Building Archaeology has suggested that this dates to the early part of the 18th Century and, as such is another of the many historically important internal features of the House.


  • The front of the House, with the exception of the later addition of a front porch, is of a classic Georgian Ashlar stone design and proportion.


  • The side and rear walls are of water-shot stone which, again, is considered to be an important design feature and peculiar to this part of the UK.


  • The sash windows are still in situ as are all of the internal Georgian wooden shutters.


  • The Palladian window that is a feature of the first floor landing on the main staircase is in a reasonable state of repair and, again, is a classic Georgian feature of importance. The window would (before the building of the local library) have given a splendid view of the formal gardens (where the bowling greens now are) and on to the moorland of Caldermoor and Shore.


The House itself is locally and regionally significant icon having been the residence of at least four generations of the Newall family who were an entrepreneurial family responsible for many innovatory ventures both locally and nationally.


The Newall family can trace its ancestry back to the 13th Century when it raised an army for the Crusades and the family's move to Littleborough in July 1453. The main branch of the family is still in existence and comes from Queensland, Australia and can trace its origins back to the emigration of Thomas Agar Newall (a still famous colonial artist and Henry’s elder brother) in the early 19h Century. This branch of the family has a keen interest in preserving Hare Hill House for the benefit of the people of Littleborough and is very supportive of our aims.


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