Aldercar Hall 1910
Postcard of Aldercar Hall in 1910 (Heanor and District Local History Society)

Built in 1668. Demolished c1962

This house, as altered in the 19th century, was of 4 bays and 3 storeys, with string courses between them, quoins and a central segmentally pedimented entrance sporting a cartouche of arms. Inside there was a fine timber staircase, with turned balusters of 17th century date, and the gate piers were contemporary sporting carved stone urns and a sundial bore the date 1688.
The Derbyshire Country House (Maxwell Craven & Michael Stanley)

Aldercar Hall from Ordnance Survey Map in 1900 (Heanor and District Local History Society)

These days there are no visible traces of Aldercar Hall. Like so many houses it was demolished in the early sixties considered surplus to requirement and too near the expanding industrialisation of Heanor and Langley Mill. Now it is all but forgotten but was once the home of a wealthy industrialist.

There had been a previous house on the site but the last one was built by Thomas Burton in in 1668. By 1712 it was owned by the Milnes family and a century later was the home of Rev. John Smith.

By 1881 Aldercar Hall was in the hands of Francis Beresford Wright (1838-1911), the son of Francis Wright of Osmaston Manor, described as an ‘iron and coal proprietor of the Butterley Company, J.P. for the County of Derby, M.A. Cambridge, farmer of 295 acres’.¹

The Butterley Company was founded as Benjamin Outram and Company in 1790 and became one of the largest producers of iron in the country. One of its most famous contracts was providing iron for the Barlow Train Shed at St Pancras Station.

Francis Bereford Wright
Francis Beresford Wright (My Heritage)

Despite improving the property Francis Beresford Wright lost interest in Aldercar Hall and made Wootton Court in Warwickshire the family home in 1882.

The following year an advertisement appeared in The Times announcing the pending sale of the Aldercar Hall estate.¹

“The Aldercar-Hall Estate, Derbyshire, on the Midland and Great Northern Railways, within a drive of the beautiful scenery of Matlock, 12 miles from the county town, a like distance from Nottingham, and three hours’ journey from London. A charming Residential Freehold Estate of about 300 acres, formerly one of the Parks of the Ancient Castle of the Peverils. The mansion, placed on a commanding eminence, approached from the high road through an avenue of chestnut trees, stands in the midst of a beautifully timbered demesne of fine undulating lands, the pleasure grounds on the south side being skirted by an ornamental lake with islands and a wilderness. It is entered from the avenue through a handsome old gateway, into a quadrangular court, and contains a spacious entrance hall with broad staircase, handsome drawing room with large bay window, dining room, library, billiard room opening into a pretty conservatory, eight principal bed rooms and two dressing rooms, bath room, school room, day and night nurseries, and seven secondary bed rooms, housemaid’s closet, two men’s rooms, &c. The domestic offices are excellent and fitted with every modern convenience; a dairy, with marble fountain; soft water cisterns, with force pump, and spring water, conveyed by gravitation from a spring on the hill, supply the hall and premises, and hot water and gas are laid on throughout. The stabling comprises six loose boxes, two stalls, two coach-houses, saddle and harness rooms, with chambers over. A terraced-garden court, laid out in the Italian style, with coloured gravels and fountain, with terraced rosery below, and on a lower terrace, enclosed by handsome box and yew hedges, is the tennis court, with beautiful walks down to the ornamental water and wilderness. There is an asphalte tennis court, also pretty rookeries, caverns and arbours. The lake, about two acres in extent, with islands connected by a rustic bridge, is a delightful object from the house. There is an aviary, three orchard houses, palm-house, vineries, &c. The Home Farm, with superior buildings, yards, &c., with 40 acres of grass land, adjoins the Hall; and Park Farm, of about 175 acres of grass and 60 of arable, in a high state of cultivation, with superior residence, a range of model farmbuildings, cottages, engine-house, &c., is most perfect and remunerative.”

The reserve price was never met and the auctioneer purchased Aldercar Hall on behalf of the Wright family for £10,000.

Aldercar Hall
Aldercar Hall (Heanor and District Local History Society)

It would appear that the house never left the family and by 1888 it was being leased or rented to Mr Frank Adams M.A. as a boys’ preparatory school. The school remained there until 1891 before relocating to Wellingore Hall, near Grantham. However, Aldercar Hall continued as a preparatory school, under the control of Mr E.H. Nicholls and Mr L.W. Compton, until around 1895.

By 1898 Aldercar Hall was once again a Wright family home.

Now it belonged to Arthur Fitzherbert Wright (1865-1952), son of Francis Beresford Wright, who remained there until 1927. He left Aldercar Hall and moved to the family seat at Wootton Court until his own death in 1952.

Arthur Fitzherbert Wright (My Heritage)
Arthur Fitzherbert Wright (My Heritage)

The house was reported to be unoccupied by 1930 and is understood to have remained so until the 1960s when demolition seemed the only viable option.

¹Heanor and District Local History Society