Haden Hill House
Welcome to Haden Hill House & Hall
A thousand-year-old site showcasing Tudor and Victorian history is tucked away in a corner of the Black Country.
Side view of the house
Hidden between dozens of residential streets, traditional old industrial firms and modern trading estates is Haden Hill House & Hall.
Located off the Halesowen Road in Cradley Heath, the historic site is far removed from what is considered to be the Black Country's primary historical heritage – heavy industry.
Instead, here two fine examples of both Tudor and Victorian architecture stand within metres of each other. Both are open for visitors, as are the 55 acres of neighbouring park land that surround the 1,000 year old site.
Alison Hyatt, outside
Haden Hall was built in the seventeenth century by the Hadens. Their ancestors settled in the Black Country in the 11th century.
Haden House was erected some three hundred years later before the death of the final surviving Haden resulted in the land and properties being bought by Rowley Regis Urban District Council (now commonly referred to as Sandwell Council).
Today, the buildings and park land are open to the public all year round. The issue though is not their historical value, moreover their visibility in the local community.
"The problem is very few people know we're actually here," says Alison Hyatt, Development Officer of Haden Hill House & Hall.
Fountain in the grounds
"Because of our location, it's easy to miss us. We're well worth a visit. It's a beautiful house with lots to see and do. We're so lucky to be in such magnificent condition when so many other heritage sites unfortunately are in decline."
The Haden family have a long association with the Black Country and the Haden estate itself – where the House, Hall and park now stand - dates back to the 11th century.
Haden Hall was built in the early Tudor period during the late sixteenth century and housed generations of Hadens. Positioned on a hill, the property became a metaphorical and geographical capital of the area.
George Alfred Haden Haden-Best inherited the family estates in the 1870s and immediately set in motion plans build what today is referred to as Haden Hill House next to the hall. He did not like the old building, having spent most of his childhood being raised there by strict elderly relatives.
Victorian displays inside
So construction of Haden Hill House began adjacent to Haden Hall but unfortunately Haden-Best died before the house reached completion. He didn't live long enough to begin demolition of the hall meaning that the two buildings – one Tudor and one Victorian – have lived alongside each other ever since.
In the aftermath of his death, the houses were purchased by Rowley Regis Council and in October 1922, along with the 55 acres of adjacent land, were finally opened to the public. During the course of the 20th century the buildings have had many uses, including acting as a community library and providing shelter for evacuees during the Second World War.
By the 1970s the houses were derelict and in danger of demolition. The Old Hall (as it is also known) was in ruins due to the effects of a fire which in turn had caused serious damage to the house. Extensive restoration to Haden Hill House was carried out in the 1980s and as well as Haden Hall the following decade.
Looking around inside
"We have a variety of events happening all year round," says Alison. "In the past we've had everything from dances and plays performed outside to our 'Chronicles of Narnia' Christmas event. We offer guided tours of both house and hall and can cater them for how you like. A lot of authentic Victorian furniture and instruments are still on display.
"People can pop in and visit at any time – it's all free. We get school visits on a very regular basis too and the children love the experience. We can really accommodate anything but if you want a specialist tour or guide and are not just popping in you'll need to make and appointment.
"The parkland is beautiful too and open to all with woodland and a lake in the centre. We have some nice wildlife here as well.
Enjoying the grounds
"A lot of people from the local community do visit and we do get people from other areas too and it would be nice to attract more from elsewhere. We want people to come and also learn something."
Haden Hill house & Hall is located off the Halesowen Road in Cradley Heath with vehicle access from Barrs Road.
Have a look around Haden Hill House & Hall by clicking the links at the top and bottom of this page.
For more information, call: 01384 569 444 or visit: www.hadenhillhouse.sandwell.gov.uk
last updated: 16/07/2008 at 11:37