History & Architecture

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Heaton Park has a rich and fascinating history. Between the mid 17th century and the beginning of the 20th century just two families owned the Heaton estate.

It passed down through the generations of the Holland family until Elizabeth Holland, the last member of the family line, married Sir John Egerton in 1684.

John Egerton

Sir John Egerton of Wrinehill (1646 - 1723) - Great Grandfather of the 1st Earl of Wilton

In 1772 Sir Thomas Egerton (later 1st Earl of Wilton) built a new home in the park for himself and his new wife.  Being young and wealthy Sir Thomas employed the best, most fashionable architect of the time – James Wyatt. His house – Heaton Hall – and the other magnificent buildings that Wyatt and his family designed can still be seen around the park.

Sir Thomas employed William Eames, a follower of Capability Brown, to create a landscape to show off his new mansion. This was reworked in the early 19th century by John Webb, a pupil of  Eames; and it was at that time that the park was enclosed with the 4-mile long wall. Smithy Lodge and Grand Lodge were built then too.

The 2nd Earl of Wilton added the splendid chimney stacks and the Orangery to Heaton Hall around 1820.

Heaton Park remained in the Egerton family until 1902 when the 5th Earl of Wilton sold it to the Manchester Corporation for £230,000.  The Corporation provided many public facilities and it quickly became a popular people's park. Throughout the 20th century thousands came to Heaton Park, but not only for relaxation, it was the setting for more serious activities too.

At the end of the 20th century the park was restored in a partnership between the Heritage Lottery Fund and Manchester City Council.  The HLF grant enabled the Council to recreate the Eames and Webb landscape around the Hall and to restore four of the Wyatt designed listed buildings.

Heaton Park is listed Grade 2 on the English Heritage Register of Parks and there are nine listed structures in the park. Details can be found on the English Heritage website.