The Big Houses Of The Heatons: Mile End Hall – Part Five: Daniel Clifton

I think its about time we saw Mile End Hall. As the first pictures we have date from the period of the Clifton family, here is the hall around 1920, in the days it was still a private residence.

Mile End Hall, Mile End, Stockport

By 1885 the owners of Mile End Hall were getting a little desperate to dispose of the property they had obtained on the purchase of the Bramhall estate. The house was offered at a greatly reduced rent in the Manchester Courier that year, possibly attracting our next resident, Daniel Clifton.

The description of ten acres of land suggests that the present footprint of the school occupies the grounds of the hall. However, it is certainly a des res, being situated near Davenport Station, and certainly adequate for a family, with seven bedrooms and four entertaining rooms. The water supply was indeed the town’s, it came from Henry Marsland’s Stockport Waterworks Company who pumped water from a 45 metre deep artesian well in the centre of town (where Sainsbury’s now stands) to a reservoir in Woodbank Park for onward supply. It was a few years before Stockport Corporation was to take over, and water supplies were taken from the purpose built reservoirs at Goyt and Kinder.

Daniel’s father, Ralph Clifton was born around 1806 in Stockport. He married Rachael and they became owners of the Pack Horse Inn on the Market Place. In 1841 they were running the Royal Oak on Higher Hillgate in Stockport. Ralph died on March 23 1851, and Rachael on 7 January the following year.

Ralph and Rachael had around six children, Daniel, Edward, George Frederick, Ralph, John Henry and Frances. Of these it was Daniel who took over the pub after his father died.

Daniel was born in 1835 and in 1855 he married Sarah Hannah Hamer, the daughter of John Hamer a fellow publican from Shaw Heath in Stockport. Sarah and Daniel had two children, Florence (b 1856) and Ralph (b 1857), however Sarah died young at the age of 31 in 1864.

Daniel then married Clara Louisa Saunby the following July. Clara was the daughter of Henry Saunby (1820-1890) a Lincolnshire tailor who had a business on Little Underbank in Stockport.

Daniel’s trade expanded and in 1870 he built the Royal Oak Brewery between his pub and Wellington Road South. At the time, brewing was still very local. Innkeeping was starting to be dominated by local brewery chains. There were a number of breweries in Stockport, Robinson’s (who still survive), Bell & Company (owned by Henry Bell, the father of Alfred who lived at Bramhall Lodge, which is now part of the grounds of Stockport Grammar school) Showell’s Brewery, Richard Clarke & Co of Reddish, and the Windsor Castle Brewery.

It was not a smooth path to riches, in 1874 he purchased a horse from the local fair for £30, the horse was immediately set on by a number of people, and beaten, by the time it had reached the brewery, it could not move, and Daniel was forced to sell it back for £17. The Horse Trick was a common ruse, and this time the miscreants were apprehended at Bury Horse fair.

In October 1885 a fire raged through the brewery, causing extensive damage. The newspapers are also replete with reports on tenant landlords embezzling funds.

In 1895 he took advantage of Companies’ legislation and incorporated Daniel Clifton & Company as a limited liability company, to take over the business of Daniel Clifton, common brewer, wine and spirit merchant and manufacturer of mineral and aerated waters.

Daniel had seven management shares, his wife and sons had one each (giving him 70% control as permanent governing director). His daughters had one ordinary share each. The total capital was £125,000, but the power rested in the management shares. The object of this was to move behind the corporate veil and avoid the unlimited liability which a partnership had (a principle that was confirmed in law in 1897 by the case of Salomon and Salomon).

By 1900 he owned 76 inns, many of which were designed to the same style, and some of which thrive to this day, and some not. The Ash in Heaton Norris was a pleasure gardens in Victorian times, and even appears on Johnson’s 1819 map in an earlier incarnation, it was converted to tea rooms in recent years, but now stands forlorn in the estate agent’s window earmarked for housing. The Jolly Sailor in Davenport on the other hand survived the danger of closure and has arisen from the threatened ashes to become a respected gastropub. Charlie Hulme has a detailed coverage of the history of this hostelry.

Daniel bought land to build the Hollywood Hotel in Stockport to cater to the newly developed Hollywood Park in 1894 for £1,250. His problem here was that whilst the new park was going to benefit all of the town’s residents (the council had spent £10,000 (£1.2m in 2020) developing it the previous year) the proposed site for the area was populated by a significant proportion of teetotallers.

Eventually in August 1893 an open air meeting settled the debate in favour of an inn, not without both sides claiming that rival supporters had been brought in to sway the vote. At the end of the evening the Manchester Evening News remarked somewhat cynically that the leading orators eventually recruited their exhausted energies in the public houses which are to be found within five minute’s walk of the proposed hotel.

The licensing hearing was heard the following August, and it was eventually granted on the condition that he abandon the license on the New Bridge Inn in Portwood, and transfer the license of the nearby Millstone to the Hollywood Hotel.

Apart from Disley, Macclesfield and Hayfield, Daniel was a local brewer as can be seen with the list of his pubs in the attachment below (Wikipedia). The Macclesfield pubs were only bought in December 1898.

In 1881 he had moved with his family from The Royal Oak to a home in newly fashionable Davenport and in 1890 he took up residence in Mile End Hall, where he lived with Clara until he died on 31 October 1900, leaving £23,382 in his will (£2.8m in 2020). Clara lived a further ten years, dying in June 1911 at Mile End Hall.

Clara and Daniel had three children, Clifford Daniel Clifton (1866-1932), Jessie Clifton (b 1868) and Frank Clifton (1870-1928).

Clifford and Frank followed their father in the brewing business. Clifford was born in 1866 at the Royal Oak, and by 1891 he is styling himself as a brewer and living at Mile End Hall. Like all the good burghers of Stockport, he volunteered in the 4th Batallion of the Cheshire Regiment.

Major Clifford Clifton © Stockport Image Archive. From “Cheshire at the opening of the 20th Century.”

In 1896 he married Georgina Maud Kay, a Bradford girl, and they went to live on the newly built and exclusive Davenport Park Estate opposite Mile End Hall in a house they called Broomfield on the 1901 census (although Stockport Image archive claims it was Bramhall Grange). He now styles himself as a Brewer and Mineral Water Manufacturer, no doubt wishing to appease the temperance movement who had tried to block the erection of the Hollywood Hotel.

Clifton Mineral Water Bottle

After his father’s death he moved into Mile End Hall and in 1911 he is no longer a simple brewer, but a Company Director. The following year the owner of Manchester United John Henry Davies (who we met last time purchasing Bramall Hall) took over the Clifton Brewing Company. This gave Daniel the freedom to pursue other interests, and in 1913 he succeeded Charles Henry Scott as Chairman of the Prince Shipping Line.

He is certainly a wealthy man by this time, an advertisement in the Manchester Evening News in June 1915 asks for a chauffeur, preferably one who is accustomed to a Rolls Royce, and in 1929 his yacht, Gracie III is reported moored at Dartmouth.

Clifford and Georgina lived at Mile End Hall until around 1926, however they had started downsizing in 1924, and an advertisement in the Yorkshire Post in April that year will ring a bitter note with generations of Stockport School pupils who were regularly mugged to pay for the Organ in the Assembly Hall.

Capes Dunn will sell by Auction… A complete 2 manual and pedal pipe organ, by Richardson Manchester. Swell organ oboe 8 foot, gemshorn 4 foot, ……Great organ Cremona 8 foot ….approximate size 13 feet high , 8 feet 6 inches by 4 feet. Hand and hydraulic blowing, the whole occupying a space of 8 feet by 4 feet.

That is one large organ, there was also a pianoforte and Steinway grand up for sale. He was also disposing of his billiard table. Twenty lines of the announcement are devoted to a detailed description of the organ whilst a brief aside at the end indicates the sale of the household furniture and general effects.

A Richardson Pipe Organ ©

They left Mile End Hall to go to the newly built Abbey Lodge, Regent’s Park, London and took flat number 35.

Abbey Lodge was constructed in 1927 in neo Georgian style and has views over Regent’s Park. Neighbours today include the Sultan of Brunei and the current asking price is around £3-4m for an appartment.

Clifford died there in early 1932, he left £118,547 (£8.2m). Georgina moved to Harrogate, and died on 4 May 1946 at the rather sweetly named Mile End House there. They do not appear to have had any children.

Jessie Clifton married Frederick Seymour Rogers, a Norfolk gentleman residing at Coltishall Hall, a grade II country house built around 1700. They lived comfortably together at Ingham New Hall in Suffolk until Frederick’s death in 1940. He left £46,586 in his will (£2.6m) and again there appears to have been no issue.

Coltishall Hall, Norfolk

Frank Clifton enjoyed even more leisure. In 1893 he travelled with his father on a cruise aboard the SS Garonne leaving London on 22 December sailing to Madeira with the intention to sail on to Tenerife, but an outbreak of cholera put paid to that. Instead Captain Livett decided to cross the Atlantic to Barbados and Jamaica, stopping for a few hours in Montego Bay. They then proceeded to Grenada, St Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, St Kitts , Santa Cruz, Kingston Jamaica, Havana, Nassau and returned via Lisbon to London.

Perhaps not being as environmentally conscious as today, the ship’s party revelled in the capture and dissection of a whale en route in the hope that they may find swallowed treasure inside. In this endeavour they were unsuccesful, as was one passenger’s attempt to photograph the hapless creature, which was eventually cut up for its blubber the asssembled spectators having lost interest at the lack of spoils.

Frank was also a keen breeder of Irish Terriers, winning prizes at dog shows all over the country during the turn of the twentieth century, however his visit to Crufts in 1902 does not appear to bring home any awards.

Unlike his sister he did not name any of his future houses after his beloved Mile End Hall, and sadly apart from Clifford Clifton, the only other pictures I can find of any of the Clifton brood, canine or human are of his terriers, this one named of course Mile End Muddler

Mile End Muddler © The Irish Terrier a Complete Anthology Vintage Dog Books 2010

In 1899 Frank married Sarah Elizabeth Nicholas, in London. Sarah was born in Montgomeryshire.

He is also that year the proud owner, like his brother of the Yacht Io, awarding prizes at Yarmouth Regatta in July.

Sarah and Frank moved to Oakfield, on Station Road in Cheadle Hulme after their marriage and subsequently to Boyne House on West Cliff Road in Bournemouth where Frank died in 1928, leaving a fortune of £32,821. They had twin children, Frank and Doris Jo, born in 1902. He kept his yacht ownership up to the end of his life, buying a steam yacht, Sea Fay in March 1928.

As we saw earlier, John Henry Davies took over Cliftons Brewery, in 1928 he was Chairman of the Manchester Brewery Company, a subsidiary of Walker Homfrays took over the operations of Cliftons brewery. We met James Ogg, the company secretary of Walker Homfray when we were looking at the last days of Highfield in Heaton Mersey.

Walker Homfrays became Wilsons, which ceased brewing in 1987.

Next time we will look at the last days of Mile End Hall.

Copyright 2020 Allan Russell

Author: allanprussell

Big houses in the Heatons and others that take my interest.

3 thoughts on “The Big Houses Of The Heatons: Mile End Hall – Part Five: Daniel Clifton”

  1. A marvellous piece of work, full of things I didn’t know – I’ll be recommending this and the other episodes to readers of my historical articles about Davenport and the ‘Jolly Sailor’, there’s very little I could add by writing my own piece.


    1. Thanks Charlie I love your stuff too, a great source of info. I’m back in Heaton Mersey now. Have a look at next Mondays post, I am rather chuffed at finding a hero of the napoleonic wars and a national hero of Ecuador.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: