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The Congreve family has been associated with Burton since the mid 1700 when they invested much
time and money to ensure that Burton became a lucrative investment for the family.   Richard Congreve
was the founder and builder of Burton Hall who died aged 80 years in 1857.  The hall stayed in the
Congreve family until 1902 when Walter Norris Congreve sold Burton Hall to Henry Nevile Gladstone for
£80,000.  

The Gladstones played a huge role in the development of the Manor but at the time of purchase the
family had already achieved notoriety through large amounts of property, lucrative over seas trading
and slave trade in the Caribbean.  The proof of this can still be seen in the coat of arms over the door of
the Manor which clearly depicts the severed head of a black man in the herald.  

Shortly after purchasing the Hall the building underwent massive refurbishment and extensions which
enlarge the title of the building from a "Hall" to a "Manor".  The original Hall, built by the Congreve's,
was an L-shaped brick building with the main front facing west.  It was too small for Mr and Mrs
Gladstone, so architect Sir Charles Nicholson was engaged to enlarge and almost completely remodel
the house, creating an imposing complex of rooms ranged around a central courtyard. The exterior was
clad in local sandstone and the walls of the fountain court rendered and painted white. Nicholson also
designed the stable block (Squirrel Lodge) complete with clock tower.

A little later the Orangery (now the Dining Room) was added to the design of Arthur Beresford Pite. The
annexe was as an open loggia, the windows being added later. Pite also planned a series of pavilions
and terraces for the garden but the main work there was that of Thomas Mawson, who, together with
Lord Leverhulme, laid out the gardens at Thornton Hall, at Rivington in Lancashire and at The Hill in
Hampstead.

The inside of the manor was very unusual in lay out.  The largest room was the music room, also known
as the Gladstone room which sat dead centre in the middle of the building.  Over the next 20 years the
Gladstones poured much money into the Manor, village and surrounding lands.  This included additional
housing, park areas, increased game and fishing ponds.  

Such a large house required an equally large indoor staff.  This at one time included a butler,
housekeeper, lady’s maid, footman, several housemaids, four pantry-maids, four kitchen maids and an
odd job man. They lived and worked in a range of domestic rooms including a bedroom and pantry for
the butler, the housekeeper’s room and a servants’ hall.  When the gentry assembled for family prayers
in the Music Room the servants looked down from the gallery (now glassed in). The Gladstones loved
music and Maud played a Stradivarius.  The Gladstone Room is still used for musical events.

Beyond the main house was the Gatehouse, formerly a joiner’s shop, and a Reading Room for the
people of the village. In Burton itself the Gladstones built extra cottages, a keeper’s house and the
Village Institute, a Hall designed by H.S. Goodhart-Rendell.

The Great War brought an end to the country house life style at Burton. Staff were no longer available
and on the death of his nephew, Harry moved to Hawarden Castle to manage the Hawarden Estates.  
By 1924 the estate at Burton was sold and the property bought by Liverpool estate agents Boult, Son
and Maples. The land was sold off piecemeal for development and the Manor itself eventually acquired
by Mr Alfred Joynson and was then rented out to various parties.

During World War 2, like so many, the Manor was requisitioned and became the Headquarters of NAAFI,
for Western Command. In 1947 it was acquired by compulsory purchase order for £14,500 by a
consortium of local authorities to establish a Residential College for Adult Education. Today, of the
original consortium, only Liverpool City Council remain. The College is a member of ARCA (the Adult
Residential College’s Association) and continues its mission to offer adult education in pleasant
surroundings.

In 2008 renovation of the ground floor of the Stable block (Squirrel Lodge), the Gatehouse, Reading
Room and Granary was completed. The created space became branded as ‘Atelier’ and consists of a set
of studio spaces and a resource centre to support artisans practising and teaching creative skills. The
project represents the start of a significant new phase in the college’s development, with the start of a
partnership with the University of Chester stabilising the future of adult education at Burton Manor for
decades to come.
Burton Manor
Additional Information:
Ground Floor Plans
First Floor Plans
Mezzanine Floor Plans
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Old Photographs