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Substantial reward offered after thieves target historical Littleborough building

Date published: 12 June 2018


A substantial reward has been offered after lead thieves have repeatedly targeted a historical building in Littleborough.

In recent weeks, Honresfeld, on Halifax Road, has been subject to a sustained attack by lead thieves, causing substantial damage to the roof. In turn, this has led to significant water damage inside the building.

As a result of the water damage inside the historic property, antique parquet flooring has begun to warp and rise, and black mould is speckled throughout the walls and ceilings.

 

Some of the exterior damage to Honresfeld
Some of the exterior damage to Honresfeld

 

Repairs are estimated at £250,000
Repairs are estimated at £250,000

 

Missing roof tiles
Missing roof tiles

 

Lead thieves have badly damaged the historical building
Lead thieves have badly damaged the historical building

 

To deter the thieves and prevent further deterioration, signs have been installed on site displaying the damage, which is estimated at approximately £250,000 to repair.

The grade-II locally listed building has 24-hour security plus CCTV cameras, and new owner Chris Grieves is confident the perpetrators will be caught due to the clear footage.

He said: “I wish to protect the historic house and stop further damage occurring, and if possible, apprehend the culprits. I am putting forward a reward for the arrest and conviction of the parties in the CCTV footage.”

 

Damage to the parquet flooring
Damage to the parquet flooring

 

Water damage inside the historical building
Water damage inside the historical building

 

Some of the damage
Some of the damage

 

Some of the exterior damage to Honresfeld
Some of the exterior damage to Honresfeld

 

The damage will cost around £250,000 to fix
The damage will cost around £250,000 to fix

 

A typical example of a Victorian mill owner’s house, Honresfeld was built in 1873 by the Dove Brothers of Islington at a cost of £5,068.

The former mill owner’s home was designed in gothic revival style by well-regarded London architect, Benjamin Ferrey, and built for the local Laws family, whose firm A and J Law built woollen mills at Lydgate, and later, Durn Mill in Littleborough.

Durn Mill, was located near Burn Bridge and was demolished after 1951. Today, West View, Durnlaw Close and Egerton Street are situated on the former mill site.

Brothers William (born 1836) and Alfred (born 1838) Law lived at Honresfeld, where enthusiastic art collector William kept a vast collection of paintings, manuscripts and rare books in the library. Known as the Law Collection, it included relics and manuscripts by the Brontë sisters, plus works by Turner, Rembrandt and Hunt.

Some of the manuscripts, original pencil and watercolours by Charlotte and Emily Brontë were sold in 1933, others were given to Law’s nurse and kept in the family before later being purchased by the Brontë Society.

Neither brother married, and so, following William and Alfred’s deaths in 1901 and 1913 respectively, Honresfeld and William’s impressive collection of art passed to nephew Alfred Joseph Law (born 1860), who served as Rochdale’s Conservative MP between 1918 and 1922.

Between 1913 and 1939, Honresfeld had just one owner, at a time when many other families, houses and libraries faced unexpected estate taxes when recent heirs were killed during war.

In 1959, Honresfeld House became a residential care home, under the group founded by Leonard Cheshire VC, a former RAF pilot who started a much-needed charity for the disabled.

Honresfeld was significantly altered with extensions during the late 20th century, with a major building programme in 1961, a new wing in 1978 and further extensions in the 1980s and 1990’s.

Closing in 2016, Honresfeld became listed locally in 2017 and was recently purchased by Hallmark Developments (NW) Ltd.

If you have any information that could help protect Honresfeld, please contact the Rochdale Online Newsdesk and your details will be passed to Mr Grieves:

news@rochdaleonline.co.uk


To contact the Rochdale Online news desk, email news@rochdaleonline.co.uk or visit our news submission page.

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