ABBOTS LEE built c.1862-3. (Listed)
Architectural description - Victorian Gothic house in red sandstone; on the entrance front about one third, on the right, was an addition made between 1904 & 1925 (from the maps). The house is of 2 storeys, with gables & attics stone mullioned and transomed windows, rectangular and canted bay windows & a stone eaves cornice with modillions. The porch is steeply gabled with Tudor arched doorway and Gothic glazed outer porch.
Stylistically, the house in a diagrammatic Tudor Gothic is generally High Victorian with a variety of corbel table and other details in accord with the pre-Puginian phase of Gothic Revival including a triple window with the centre light taller than the side lights. The massing of the entrance porch, flanked by buttresses and with a more ecclesiastical air, is especially High Victorian. The garden front gable, stepped forward over a double height bay, has a lancet and a two light pointed window above.
Owners and Occupiers - In 1862 John Bushby (c.1819-1896) born in Cumberland, a shipowner 79 Tower Buildings and a relative of the Laces, bought land from Ambrose Lace. Presumably he built the house 1862/3 as in 1864 Gore records him here, but he seems to have been much away as Mrs Bushby and the children are recorded as the occupants until Mr Bushby retires about 1860. He was a member of the L.W.L.B. from c.1873 and Chairman from 1881 to 1895 and died in Feb. 1896.
In 1899 William Winwood Gossage born Widnes 1862, educated St John's College, Cambs., soap manufacturer came to live in the house, first as tenant of Bushby's executors, then buying it in 1904, living there till 1912. He was twice married, secondly in 1896 to Ethel, eldest daughter of Sir W.H. Tate Bart., sugar refiner of Liverpool.
In 1913 Sir Benjamin Sands Johnson (1865-1937) bought the house. Born in Kirkdale and educated at Liverpool Institute, he entered his father's business at 16 (Johnsons Dyers and Cleaners). He was Mayor of Bootle at the age of 28, stood for Parliament in Kirkdale as a Liberal - but lost to Baden Powell, was knighted 1910 & in 1917 was appointed Director General of the Royal Army Clothing Dept. In 1923 he was High Sheriff of Lancaster and he was also a Deputy Lieut. of the County. A Wesleyan Methodist, he married a daughter of the Rev. James Hutcheson in 1909. He is remembered here for the garden parties he held for his staff in the grounds of the house.
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