Frankby Hall was built in 1847 by Thomas Royden who had founded the family shipbuilding business in Liverpool in 1818. Thomas Royden built his country estate on land his great grandfather Joseph Royden had started to purchase some years earlier and which was previously part of the Rathbone estate. Included in the estate of Thomas Royden was Forton Hey, built next to Frankby Hall by Thomas for his sister Ann Dean. He retired to his Frankby Estate leaving his two sons Thomas Bland and Joseph to manage the family business and expansion of the shipbuilding yard on the Mersey. Thomas Royden died at Frankby Hall in 1868.
Frankby Hall and the children of Sir Thomas Bland Royden: Thomas Royden (centre), Ernest (right), Maude (2nd from right) with sisters Nancy, Martha, Catherine, Mabel, Mary.
Thomas Bland Royden followed in his father's footsteps and entered politics becoming Tory MP for Toxteth in 1873, a Justice of the Peace in 1874, and Lord Mayor of Liverpool 1878-79. In 1905 he became a Baronet. Sir Thomas Bland Royden died in 1917.
His son, Sir Thomas Royden, Baron of Frankby, moved to Hampshire in the 1930s and, with no children, his estate at Frankby, including Frankby Hall, were auctioned off in 1932. His younger brother, Sir Ernest Bland Royden had married into the adjacent Hillbark Estate and lived at Bidston Court, Birkenhead. The couple loved Bidston Court so much that when they inherited the Hillbark Estate they had the black and white mock Elizabethan building dismantled and re-erected in the Hillbark Estate. The house today is known as Hillbark as is a short distance away from Frankby Hall next to Royden Park.
Frankby Hall and nearly 40 acres of surrounding gardens, woodland and pasture was bought by the Wallasey Corporation for use as a cemetery. The house was described in the auction papers as 'an attractive residence' with the following description:
The House is built of Stone and has Battlements with a Turret.
Ground Floor - Vestibule with Cloakroom and Lavatory off, large Square Hall, with Fireplace and Gallery Staircase, Dining Room panelled in Oak 3'6" high with Serving Room off, magnificent double Drawing Room with Two Fireplaces, Morning Room. Approached by a covered-in Glass Passage, there is a Billiard Room with recess Fireplace, Lavatory and Two W.C.s off, Study.
The Domestic Offices are shut off from the rest of the House, and include: Butler's Pantry, Servant's Hall, Kitchen, Scullery, Larder, Yard with Coal-house, Lavatory and Storeroom.
Basement - Wine Cellar, Three Store Cellars, Central Heating Chamber, Coke Store.
First Floor - approached by the aforementioned Oak Gallery Staircase, also a Secondary Staircase - Five Principal Bedrooms, one with Dressing Room off, one with Bathroom and W.C. off, second Bathroom with W.C. and Lavatory Basin, Storeroom, W.C.
Shut off from the main portion of the House - Five further Bedrooms, Bathroom, Sewing Room, Housemaid's Pantry, W.C., Storeroom.
Second Floor, approached by a Secondary Staircase only - Five Bedrooms, Sewing Room, (off one of the bedrooms there is a door leading to the Tower), Cistern Room, Lumber Room, Bathroom, Housemaid's Sink.
The House, which as Central Heating, is lighted by ELECTRIC LIGHT supplied from the Main, and Main Water is laid on.
Frankby Hall was altered at a cost of £10,000 to include two chapels for cemetery. One chapel was for Church of England and Nonconformist services, and the other was for Roman Catholic services. The floor between the ground and first floor was removed to create high ceilings and the windows were replaced with single stained glass windows. Re-modelling of the remaining part of the building provided living accommodation for a caretaker.
Included as part of Frankby Hall in the Estate Auction were outbuildings including Garages for two cars, Workshop Five-stall Stable, Harness Room, Bedroom and Bathroom over, Shippon, Two-horse Box with Loft over, Saddle Room, Fruit Room and Storeroom.
There was also a Chauffeur's Cottage, Gardens with Walled-in Kitchen Garden, Greenhouse, Forcing House, Potting Shed, Man's Room and Ornamental Lake.
The Lodge at the drive entrance (pictured below) was also included.
Other holdings within the 1932 Frankby Hall Estate covering 810 acres included:
- Arrowe Brook Farm
- Greasby Hall Farm
- Old Hall Farm, Greasby
- Greasby Hall Farm
- Manor House Farm
- Frankby Post Office, Ivy Cottage and Nos 1,3,4 & 5 The Nook, Frankby
- Poplar Farm, Frankby
- Baytree Farm, Frankby
- Larton Farm
- Irby Mill Hill Farm
- Cottages Nos 1,2,3 & $ Montgomery HillRock House and Glenside Cottages, Montgomery Hill
Frankby Hall is still used for services. The first floor living accommodation still provides a family home and there is a Cemetery Sexton's Office below with gardeners Mess Room and public toilets adjacent in what was the old kitchen and courtyard.
Frankby Hall seen in 1945. From the Liverpool Evening Express, 24 August, 1945. (British Newspaper Archive)
Before conversion to chapels with two floors and then with a single storey and arched windows