The History of Mortimer Hall
The 1st of this month marks the beginning of Local & Community History Month, the perfect opportunity to delve a little into the history of the Ductbusters HQ building in Kidderminster!
Ductbusters is based at Mortimer Hall on Birmingham Road, but before it was Mortimer Hall (and before we made it our home), the building had another life and another name. Originally known as Elderfield House, the sizeable building hides over 200 years of history.
The first record of the site on which the house now stands dates all the way back to 1785. An Indenture and associated Lease of Possession records the granting of the original 2 acres of land to Joseph Pardoe, a carpet manufacturer, for £105.
The land was ideal at the time and still is, as it sits on a plateau overlooking Kidderminster, just as the road reaches the end of its climb out of the town and is far enough from the town centre to have avoided the smog and dirt of industry.
The first building wasn’t erected on the site until the early 19th century, by John Hooman, a carpenter and the subsequent owner. By the time that John sold the land to Rebecca Broom in 1818 the site had ‘a freehold dwelling house with stable, barn, two tenements and about 3 acres of land known as Elderfield.’
Ms Broom bought the land and new buildings for the princely sum of £1,600. At that time the land extended for more than two acres from Birmingham Road to Long Acre in the North.
One of the most extensive descriptions of the property is from an auction advertisement, dating back to 1869. The advertisement gave this description:
‘The premises consist of a House, containing spacious Dining Room, Drawing Room, Breakfast Room, nine Bedrooms, and Bath Room; capital Cellars, China and Store Closets, good Kitchen, and other well-appointed Offices, with good Stabling, Coach-house, Barn, Conservatory, ornamental and extensive pleasure Grounds, Orchard, with two Workmen’s Cottages, and Gardens thereto.’
The condition of the building prior to Rebecca Broom’s purchase isn’t known, unfortunately, making it impossible to know the layout of the very first iteration of the property.
The property changed hands numerous times until the final record of deeds of conveyance in 1905. During this time the house and its grounds were kept largely in the condition they were left in by Ms Broom.
Fast-forward to 2019, and the house and in particular its grounds have changed considerably. The previously long, sweeping driveway is no longer there and the vast majority of the land to the rear is no longer attached to the property.
The house however still stands in its impressive stature and is very clearly a piece of Kidderminster’s history. The Grade II listed building still roughly holds its original layout and is an impressive statement on the ancient and still present Birmingham Road.
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