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Latitude: 53.4068 / 53°24'24"N
Longitude: -2.7607 / 2°45'38"W
OS Eastings: 349528
OS Northings: 390272
OS Grid: SJ495902
Mapcode National: GBR 9Y51.3G
Mapcode Global: WH87B.KMML
Plus Code: 9C5VC64Q+PP
Entry Name: Briars Hey
Listing Date: 24 February 2005
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1391242
English Heritage Legacy ID: 492355
Location: Rainhill, St. Helens, L35
County: St. Helens
Civil Parish: Rainhill
Built-Up Area: Prescot
Traditional County: Lancashire
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Merseyside
Church of England Parish: Rainhill St Ann
Church of England Diocese: Liverpool
1303/0/10011 MILL LANE
24-FEB-05 Briars Hey
Detached Villa, latterly children's convalescent home and care home,empty at the time of inspection (December 2004). 1868, with later C20 alterations and additions. By William Hayward Brakspear, architect (c.1815-1898), of Manchester for alkali and glass manufacturer John Crossley. Coursed rock-faced red sandstone with ashlar dressings and decorative sculpture, tall chimney stacks with coupled shafts and corbelled caps and a Welsh slate roof covering incorporating decorative banding. Exuberant Gothic Revival style.
PLAN: Irregular T-plan with canted end bays to west elevation extending beyond line of front and rear walls of the main house body, and the principal reception rooms arranged around a central stair hall.
EXTERIOR: 2 storeys and attics. Near-symmetrical west elevation of 5 bays with advanced wide-gabled central entrance bay incorporating a richly-moulded pointed arched doorway with splayed jambs below an elaborate bracketed canopy with pendant enrichment. Above this, a wide pointed-arched 3-light mullioned window with plate traceried head and hood mould extending into gable apex. Single lancets flank the doorway, and the ranges either side of the entrance have central chimneys with coupled shafts. Long 5-bay north elevation with central arched entrance with traceried overlight. Wide canted end bay to right with tall 2 light window with plate-traceried gabled head breaking through the eaves line. 2 and 3-light windows to ground floor have pointed and cusped arched heads, and sash window frames without glazing bars. Tall left-hand end bay with pyramidal roof supporting a substantial lantern. Main roof with 2 tall ridge chimneys and 2 small gabled dormer windows.
INTERIOR: Institutional use in the later C20 resulted in substantial alteration to the interior, with sub-division of larger rooms. The central stair hall, entrance vestibules and connecting passages retain fine patterned encaustic floor surfaces. The stair hall has pointed-arched arcades at ground floor and first floor landing levels, the columns with carved capitals and the arch spandrels pierced by quatrefoils. The open well stair has fine ornamental balustrading, carved newel posts and moulded handrails. The stair well is illuminated by a generous lantern, its square panelled roof with cross beams supported on slender brackets. The lantern glazing is arranged in 3 sets of 4 lights to each face. The ground floor retains some original 6-panel doors with arched mouldings to the upper panels, deep skirtings and moulded architraves. The former library retains original half-glazed library cabinets. The passage between the west elevation doorway and the stair hall has moulded pointed arches spanning and flanking the passage.
HISTORY: Briars Hey was completed in 1868. The architect, William Haywood Brackspear had worked under Charles Barry and A W N Pugin on designs for the Houses of Parliament, and Briars Hey is considered to be his most important domestic commission, as well as the most costly, the cost recorded in his practice ledger amounting to £12,213. The house and estate was acquired in 1938 by the religious order of The Sisters of The Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the house becoming the St Joseph's Convent, a childrens convalescent home. In 1970 it was purchased by Lancashire County Council for use as a children's home.
Sources . Nikolaus Pevsner. The Buildings of England . Lancashire. The Industrial and Commercial South, p 371.
Briars Hey is of special architectural interest as the most important domestic design by the notable Manchester architect William Haywood Brakspear. This imposing and finely-detailed stone building is little-altered externally and retains high quality interior elements despite later changes to facilitate institutional use.
This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.
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