Ford Park, Ulverston

Ford Park, Ulverston, Cumbria: Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment

The site of Ford House and its associated park has been occupied since at least the end of the 16th century, at which time it was known as Hoad Stile. A number of families are recorded as living at the site from this point until the beginning of the 19th century, often more than one at a time, suggesting it either comprised a single large building, probably a farmhouse, or a group of buildings. By the early 19th century it was occupied by a succession of wealthy businessmen and their families, each of whom had their own impact on the site’s development.

The first recorded of these was John Winram, a local shipbuilder working for Petty and Postlethwaite, who was probably succeeded by his son George, at which time the property was known as Hoad Stile Cottage. They were followed by Wooodburn Postlethwaite, an attorney, who appears to have constructed a new house on the site, or modified the old one, in 1835, transforming it into a gentleman’s villa known as Hoad Cottage. He may also have carried out further building in 1851, and the architects for some of this work were apparently Webster and Thompson of Kendal.

Postlethwaite lived at the site for approximately 20 years and following his death it was purchased by Montague Ainslie for his son William, a wealthy iron master. They too made a considerable number of alterations to the site including the construction of the extant dwelling, which was named Ford House. William did not live in the house for long, however, although Montague made use of it for several years after he had left. The family did continue to own it, however, until approximately 1875, at which time it passed to John Poole, a local solicitor. He was responsible for selling off a considerable part of the estate, as a result of which the grounds were reorganised, and he also probably built the present coach house. The estate was sold in 1886, after which it changed hands several times. By the beginning of the 20th century it was being let and during World War II it was requisitioned by the military. Following this, perhaps because it was considered too damaged to be habitable, it was sold to the Council and from 1949 was used by the local school. In 1998, following a reorganisation of the school, it was saved for the community by the Ford Park Community Group.

The full report is available on the Archaeology Data Service website: