Our two local amenity societies have developed The Victorian Society's idea for studying local history on the ground by looking at roads and buildings. These notes are a supplement to what our guides can say in the time available as we walk. We do not want you to read them during the walk; we hope to be audible and so interesting that you will not wish to read them then. Please read them when you get home and they will fill out what we have been saying. We think there is a very great deal to be learned from local history if it is approached in this sort of way - looking at buildings, considering their style and character, and putting people into them.
The guides on this walk would like to emphasise that they have no complete knowledge, though they have done a lot of homework on the area we are covering. In many places they are feeling their way and they base their statements and opinions on features that strike them, and their enthusiasm for architecture and local history. In our study of this area we have had sight of only one set of deeds, but those have been of great help, and we have gathered some oral memories, more than we expected. We hope as we walk this afternoon we shall spark off more memories from you and gather clues to where more material is to be sought. We most particularly want to see any picture of Gateacre Hall, demolished c.1898, and of which we know nothing. Our aim is to identify the architects who designed these houses and to understand how and why they were chosen to build as they did.
Our walk today is along Acrefield Road in the old township of Much Woolton, from the top of Gateacre Brow to Out Lane.
In theory, and in our Notes, we also include a fraction of Little Woolton because the outbuildings of Gateacre Hall were on that side of the boundary line. Our Map is our reconstruction of the state of development in 1871, and the Much Woolton/Little Woolton boundary is shown as a string of sausages coming up the south side of Gateacre Brow and plunging through Gateacre Hall. We interject hastily that the Gateacre Hall on our map was demolished before 1904; Gateacre Hall Hotel in Halewood Road took over the name since the last war.
Recent walks have been through parts of our area affected by the Enclosure Act of 1805; this walk is through "anciently enclosed land" lying to the east of the line A - B (on this map) So we come to the question of the name of Acrefield Road.
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