Greaves Park History
Greaves Park was originally built as a private house for Samuel Simpson Esq. later known as Rev. Simpson. He bought the land (Pointer Field) from William Satterthwaite in February 1844 for £1,500.
The grade II listed building dates back to 1843 according to the date stone that can be seen over the entrance and the Simpson family crest of a lion is also present.
The house was originally known as The Greaves, however it was later named Greaves House when local architect EG Paley had a home built slightly to the south of the main house which he called The Greaves.
Rev. Simpson lived at Greaves House for a number of years before moving his family to the Isle of Man where he was curate at the Church of St Thomas. In 1861, Dr Edward Dennis De Vitre, an eminent physician who was very well regarded in the town moved into Greaves House. Dr De Vitre was the visiting physician to the Moor Hospital, the county asylum, and he was concerned for the welfare of the inmates who we would now call mentally handicapped patients. De Vitre was instrumental in setting up and running the Royal Albert Hospital.
On 2nd March 1874 Rev. Simpson sold his property to Richard Leeming for £11,000. Leeming had a large family with four sons and five daughters and was related to the famous Lancaster furniture makers who produced furniture for Queen Victoria, the Gillow family.
Richard Leeming passed away in 1888, leaving the property in the hands of Trustees (his brother and three of his sons). His will allowed the Trustees to sell Greaves House - after the death of his widow Eliza - on the condition that two or more unmarried daughters would be permitted to live there rent-free if they wished. In January 1937 Mary Eliza died leaving her last sister Mary Frances Leeming no longer legally permitted to live in the house. It is not known where she went when she left Greaves House.
The City Council bought Greaves House and lands from the Trustees of Richard Leeming on 14 January 1938 for the sum of £10,200. It is not known how the house was used during the next 20 years, although there are rumours it was head office for a few companies and a post office. It has also been confirmed that the grounds were used during the Second World War (1939 to 1945) for food production. In 1958, the house and approximately one third of the parkland was leased to the County Council and the following year the local paper announced that up to date facilities for mentally handicapped children were now provided at Greaves House.
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