There has been a house on the site of the present Heaton Hall since the late seventeenth century, but the building would have been quite old-fashioned by the time Sir Thomas Egerton, the seventh baronet and later first Earl of Wilton, inherited it in 1756. On his marriage to the heiress Eleanor Assheton of Middleton in 1772, that Sir Thomas decided to commission architect James Wyatt to re-model the house. Wyatt already had a reputation as an innovative architect but Heaton Hall, designed in the fashionable neo-classical style, was his most important country house commission to date.
In the 1820s, Lewis Wyatt was employed by the Second Earl of Wilton to re-model the Library and to add more rooms, the monumental chimney-stacks and the Orangery. During this period, Heaton was the centre of a lively social scene with many famous visitors, including the Duke of Wellington, the actress Fanny Kemble, Disraeli and Tom Thumb. From 1827 to 1839, the famous Heaton Park Races were run on a course on the site of the present lake.
From the second half of the nineteenth century onwards, the family spent less and less time at Heaton. In 1902, as a result of public pressure for more recreational facilities in the north of the city, Manchester Corporation purchased the Park and its buildings for £230,000. In 1906, part of the house became a branch of Manchester City Galleries, providing additional space for its growing collections.
The Hall is now listed Grade 1, in recognition of its importance as one of the finest neo-classical houses in the country. Over the past fifteen years, the principal rooms have been gradually restored and appropriate furnishings acquired to reflect the styles of the period.
Part of a Designated Collection of national importance is on display at this venue.
Historic house or home
30th March - 29th September
Thurs - Sun & Bank Holiday Mondays
10.00 - 17.00
Closed: November - March
Part of a Designated Collection of Fine and Decorative Art, which you can also see at Manchester Art Gallery and Wythenshawe Hall, is on display here. Please contact Manchester Art Gallery for more information if you wish to see a specific item.
Fine Art, Decorative and Applied Art, Architecture
Key artists and exhibits
- Designated Collection