Hill is a large house in an elevated position overlooking the River
Dee on the west side of Dee Banks, Chester, Cheshire, England (grid
reference SJ420657). It has been designated by English Heritage as a
Grade II* listed building. The authors of the Buildings of England
series describe it as a "house of considerable size and panache".
The house was built by the Chester architect
John Douglas for his own use. It
was built in the 1890s and, although bearing the date 1896, its
service wing was never completed. Because of its large size and
prominent position it was popularly known as "Douglas' Castle" or
"Douglas' Folly". Douglas lived in the house from about 1901 until
his death in 1911. Following this, his son Sholto continued to live
in there but had left it by 1918. It became a girls' school, Walmoor
College, and was later the headquarters of the Cheshire Fire
Brigade. Its use by the fire service ended in 1997.
The house is built in red sandstone with a
grey-green slate roof. It is Elizabethan in style and has a T-shaped
plan. The main wing is elaborate and overlooks the river to the
west; the unfinished servants' wing is simpler and looks to the
north. The entrance faces the east. The entrance porch has two
storeys with an arched entrance and an oriel window above it. The
room above the porch was used by Douglas as an oratory or chapel. To
the left is a squat three-storey tower and between the two is an
octagonal corbelled stair-turret. To the right of the entrance porch
the house continues for two bays leading to the servants' wing at
right angles. These are in two storeys with mullioned windows.
The west front has a massive appearance with a three storey bay
to the north. This has mullioned and transomed canted windows, a
crenellated parapet and a pyramidal roof. To its right is an
octagonal four-storeyed crenellated tower. To the south of this the
house continues for three bays in two storeys and at the south is a
three-storey bay, again with mullioned and transomed canted windows,
but with a plain parapet. The monograms "JD" and "STD" (for Sholto
Theodore Douglas) appear on the building. On the staircase is a
stained glass window commemorating Captain Richard Douglas who died
in the Peninsular War.
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