Skip to content

Fears for the future of one of Liverpool’s most important houses

The Victorian Society has written to Liverpool City Council urging it to refuse an application to convert Pugin's Oswaldcroft into 22 separate homes.

The Grade II*-listed house on Woolton Road is a rare surviving example of a Pugin house in Liverpool and of an innovative approach to domestic architecture.

'The way Pugin designed the layout of Oswaldcroft with the rooms radiating out from a central staircase is particularly important and would help to change the course of domestic architecture in England,' said Chris Costelloe, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. 'Only three such houses survive intact, and the other two are listed Grade I'.

Despite many years as the St Joseph's nursing home the house still retains many original features such as carved stone fireplaces, stained glass and tiles monogrammed with the owner's initials. The house was originally designed for Henry Sharples, a wealthy timber merchant and shipowner.

'Sub-dividing a building like Oswaldcroft demands the most careful and sensitive treatment, and yet the developer appears to show no understanding of how to adapt a Grade II*-listed building. These plans need to go back to the drawing board.'

The Society has already warned that if the council grants consent then the application must be passed to the Secretary of State.


AWN Pugin designed Oswaldcroft between 1845-7, and is also responsible for the lodge. His son, EW Pugin designed an extension in 1866, which remains a rare surviving example of the latter's domestic work.

Pugin's important domestic innovations were the 'pinwheel' plan and the free façade, seen first at The Grange in Ramsgate and developed further at Oswaldcroft.  It had far-reaching consequences for house design in England.

The house was designed for Henry Sharples, a wealthy timber merchant and shipowner. He was also an important Catholic benefactor so the house is a fascinating survival of Liverpool's mercantile patronage and of the nineteenth century Catholic revival in the city.

Thursday 26 May, 2011

More recent item: New approach needed for historic Salford lodge
Earlier item: Rare building at risk in Haringey

© 2018 The Victorian Society
1 Priory Gardens, London W4 1TT. T 020 8994 1019. E (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Charity No. 1081435. Company No. 3940996. Registered in England. Office as above.

Make an online donation to the Victorian Society processed securely by PayPal.

This website uses cookies. Please see our privacy page for details.