STONELEIGH and No.48 c.1858-9 (Listed)
Architectural description - A mid 19th century red sandstone Classical villa facing the carriage sweep, 2-storeys with rusticated quoins with cornice & parapet (No.48 occupies rear wing). The porch is of Roman Doric columns 'in antis' with frieze and cornice, and balustraded balcony, 2 moulded string-courses between storeys, 2 French windows on ground floor, 3 sash windows above, all in moulded architraves. Garden front similar but a less regular composition, with a billiard room added on the right.
Style - The absolute discipline and, arising from that discipline, the wonderfully harmonious proportions and the sheer quality of the workmanship on the entrance front leads one to expect an earlier date than is revealed by the freer handling of the garden front where symmetry breaks down and harmony is lost while the workmanship remains superb.
And the sensitivity of the extension, the absolute conformity of the earlier linking portion followed by the handling of a full scale Victorian bay and the matching mouldings, quoins, etc., is exquisite.
The house has a 'male domain' - a characteristically Victorian idea. Its heart is the Billiard Room cum Smoking Room with its inglenook (a feature derived from the work of Shaw and Nesfield). Associated with it is a w.c. and cloakroom, and a lobby. Was the purpose of the top-lit lobby to act as a buffer between the house and the noise and smoke of the male zone?
Other rooms in the house have fascinatingly varied plaster-work cornices to their ceilings, and one has a green veined marble fireplace.
Owners and Occupiers - The house was built about 1858-9 for Barton Wrigley, son of George and Alice Wrigley, baptised 21.6. 1831 at St Peters, Liverpool. Wrigley was an attorney (Stockley & Wrigley) who had been living on Everton Brow in 1857, briefly in Canning St., and by 1860 Gore records him at "Fortfield", the first name of this house - confirmed by a photograph of the house, from Miss Houghton's collection, annotated "Barton Wrigley Esq." The 1861 census shows him, his wife Margaret and 3 young daughters with 4 servants including a ladies maid at Fortfield, but after that his name disappears from Gore and by 1870 Mrs Barton Wrigley was at Fairlie, Ullet Rd. (We feel there is more to this story than we have unearthed).
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