Historic Buildings and Sites: Lumley Hall

What follows is an extract from a leaflet produced by the Madeley Living History Project, with assistance from Martin Shaw and David Smith. The first illustration is by Maggie Humphry – please note, not copyright-free.

The leaflet, with more details, is available from Madeley Town Council Offices.

Lumley Hall was built in 1858 as the Madeley County Court. At that time it was simply called the County Court House and did not acquire its current name until the early 1980s. People often ask how it came to be known as Lumley Hall. This happened when the building was passed to Telford Development Corporation (TDC) in the1970s. For some time it had been owned by St. Michael’s Church and was known as ‘St. Mick’s’. However, there was constant confusion between ‘St. Michael’s the Church’ and ‘St. Mick’s the High Street building’ so it was decided that the name should be changed and TDC asked the then vicar of St. Michael’s, Vic Price, to come up with a new name. Vic consulted the 1849 Tithe Map and Apportionment and saw that the plot of land where the building now stood was owned, in 1849, by one William Lumley – presumably the last private owner of the plot- so he suggested the building be named ‘Lumley Hall’.

Click the photo to enlarge it.

It was designed by George Reeves of London and built by the Nevett Brothers (Timber and Builders, Waterloo Street, Ironbridge) who had also built the Anstice Memorial Centre in Madeley. Described as ‘in the Classical Grecian style’ it incorporated a ‘large and lofty’ Court Room, Registrar and Bailiff offices, a retiring room and a dwelling house for the court keeper. It was open 10am-4pm daily with Court Sessions being held on Wednesdays. The Court Officials consisted of a Judge and Clerks to deal with the proceedings and record events. A High Bailiff and Registrar was appointed and, later, Certified Bailiffs under the Law of Distress Amendments Act. The Court also appointed its own Solicitor and Official Receivers when it received Jurisdiction under the Bankruptcy Act of 1870.

The Court seems to have dealt solely with minor offences – mostly relating to unpaid debts.

It continued as a County Court until the service was restructured as a result of the County Court Districts (Misc) Order 1950 when its functions were transferred to the Wellington County Court.

Lumley Hall has, however, been used as a wider community facility since its construction. As early as 1858 it was used as a temporary meeting place for local Baptists while the new Baptist Church was being constructed.

After closure as a court, the building was taken over by St. Michael’s Church and used, until the late 1960s, as a church hall. It was used for Sunday Schools, Mothers’ Union meetings etc and, around this time acquired its local nickname of ‘St. Mick’s’. At this time it was also used as a base for the local St. John’s Ambulance.

By the late 1960s it was falling into a state of disrepair and was sold, by the church, to Greenall Whitley Brewery who planned to knock it down and rebuild / extend the next door pub (the Royal Oak). The plans came to nothing and the neglected building became increasingly derelict and subject to vandalism.

In 1973 (after complaints from local residents and [apparently] pressure from young people) it was bought by Telford Development Corporation (TDC) with a view to setting up facilities for young people. A youth club was set up with the support of the County Council Youth Service and activities included a very popular disco.

In the late 1970s Telford Amateur Boxing Club transferred its HQ there from its former base on Woodside. It organised fitness, weight training and other related activities for its members in the centre.

The Careers Service also had a presence in the building in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Click the photo to enlarge it.