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Haden Hill House Museum and Haden Old Hall (England)

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Address: Halesowen Rd‎ / Cradley Heath, West Midlands B64 / United Kingdom

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      29.09.2013 22:08
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      A wonderful free park in the West Midlands

      Being that I am only a ten minute walk away from a beautiful park means I do visit there often. I love going on walks, it is a great way of getting out the house and always better when you have something nice to look at and appreciate.

      Haden Hill Park and Museum:

      'Haden Hill House Museum in Cradley Heath, Rowley Regis is a Victorian gentleman's residence furnished in period style, surrounded by 55 acres of award winning parkland. The House was built in 1878 by George Alfred Haden Haden-Best who did not wish to live in the Old Hall. Haden Hill House has plenty to entertain younger visitors too and the museum has a lively programme of events and activities for all ages as well as a popular selection of activities for schools'

      - www.sandwell.gov.uk

      Haden Hill House
      Halesowen Road
      Cradley Heath
      B64 7JU
      01384 569444

      A bit of History:

      Being so local to this when in Primary school we did some local history on this place then that got me even more interested than I already was at that time. It was then that really sparked my interested in the place, so over the years I have enjoyed reading up and finding out lots of interesting facts. Was the late 1870's when George Alfred Haden-Haden Best got the house, which is now the museum. It was inherited from Frederic W. G. Barrs the uncle of George. There is Barrs road right next to the Haden Hill; George didn't have children of his own there for adopted two local girls to become his daughters.

      Alice Cockin and Emily Bryant, they then lived with George until his death. The house and grounds then went to auction where the local council purchased for just under £9000. (I wish I could buy that for £9k!) Since then it has helped world war two evacuees, shelter for when the bomb raids took place, helped with over load from local hospitals. However now in modern times it was given a huge £2 million pound lottery grant to revamp the old house back to former glory, which is what happened and turned into a museum for us to see today.

      My Findings:

      Not long coming back from visiting the park and museum again today with my 2 year old nephew, 7 year old niece. My friend came along with her 2 year old too; we've all had a lovely day which has prompt me to review this wonderful little place.

      I guess this place has been a part of my life since I can remember. I have photos of my parents pushing me around there in my pram as a child, wonderful photos of when my Nan used to take me and my cousins up there. Watching my granddad play bowls on there large fields with his friends. Even school history trips there, when I was eight (twenty years ago!) part of a green scheme our school planted a new set of trees which I can see still today and they are huge!

      For me I really like that I have fantastic memories with this place. As I have known this place for such a long time now I have watched so many changes over the years. To start with it used to be a lot of land a house and two ponds. Then they added a play area which was back then towards the Timber Tree side this is where I used to play from the ages six to twelve.

      A few years a go now Haden Hill had a very large re-vamp they took away the old play area and replaced it with an action play ground. Which is a lot safer and a lot more fun for the children, nowadays I take my nieces and nephews there and they love it. Best of all it is a free day out that the children enjoy, it is a safe place for them to go play.

      There is also another play area which has been set up for toddlers; this one has a gate either side for that bit of extra security. It also has a slightly cushioned floor, when I take my nephew George who is 2 he adores the swings. The swings for his age are ones you have slide his legs into which is much safer as I know he isn't going to fall out. My problem is he never wants to come out once his in there!

      Haden Hill house (Museum) is open to all and free to enter, you do have to check for opening times though. I have been in the house many times over the years. It hardly ever changes, and when you walk in the smell of the house hits you, it is an old antique smell but I like it. During school holidays they put a lot of events on and most of them are free. There is also a tea room which does amazing cakes and a small gift shop. The tea room isn't open all the time; it only seems to be on when they are holding events.

      The house is an old Victorian yet warmly house, you get to walk around the house and see the old items that have been left and acquired over the years. There is also a child's play room where they can play with the old fashion toys. I love this and a great fun way of teaching local history to the younger generations.

      Next to the main museum they have reconstructed the first house of Haden Hill, this sadly isn't open to the public but on the ghost walks/special events you are sometimes allowed to go onto the first floor. Inside is rather creepy, dark, musky yet very fascinating with its old doors and windows. Just need to add the furniture and jobs done!

      The park has many paths and is safe for wheelchair users and has ramps for easy access to their toilets facilities. Now these toilets are not the best, they are clean but there never seems to be any toilet roll. Luckily I always have a pack of tissues with me. People that use mobility aids such as stick that are unsteady on there feet may have an issue walking around the park although there are plenty of seating but in places is very hilly.

      Haden Hill is pretty much suited for all ages, lovely sitting areas for you to go chill or read a book. Large playing fields great for dog walkers (must clean up after your dogs though and they are not allowed on the children's play areas), playing games, 2 very nice ponds where there is plenty wildlife to feed. My dog Josh loves the park sadly his legs can not manage the walk around anymore. But you meet plenty of walkers a nice place for social interaction.

      At the park there are many different areas to view; some of the areas have little story board telling you a bit of history about each place. A lovely place to sit over the fields, on a nice day with a picnic, this is what I normally do with the children. I find myself up there for hours, different times of the year is it beautiful to watch the seasons change, seeing the new baby swans and ducklings cute little wild life. The different colours the shrubs go. You can sometime see people sit there and paint on there board as the scenery is beautiful.

      Over the park just down from the main house, there are football cages, tennis courts and basket ball areas. If you wish to play there you have to take your own equipment. Haden Hill isn't open 24 hours, the gates close around 9pm later in the summer with the lighter nights. Everywhere is well maintained, it is clean and most people seem to clean up after themselves.

      I love how they hold mini event throughout the year; they are mostly during the school holiday. Next week Dudley Zoo is bringing animals down for a sit and pet session. They have clowns; balloon shapers, face painting, mini plays and little craft work shops to suit. Again most of them are free but some have a small charge. My love for this place really is endless!

      Ghostly Happenings!

      Well at night this place does look slightly creepy and is home to a few paranormal tales which has sparked interest over the years with many. My first ghost story I was told by my brother when I was around 8/9 years old. My brother was talking me around the park with another of his friends and back then the side entrance off the main road is a long path there used to be an old like style wooden bus stop. It wasn't a bus stop but that is what it reminded me of what it looked like. Anyway my brother started telling me a story of witches on how they used to segregate around that part! That has been taken away now but the flooring is still down, it is just covered with shrubs.

      To tell you every story I have heard will make for a very long review so will stick to the basic main ones. Before the house was owned by Haden's family there was another rich, well to-do family. The young girl fell in love with a monk, which wasn't allowed. The family found out and warned the young girl Eleanor away. So then as they loved one another so much they started to meet in the secret tunnels under the park grounds. The family was informed that the monk was using these tunnels, and one night locked him in. Not knowing there daughter was locked down there too! Stories today say she can be seen floating around were the tunnels are still looking for her lost love.

      The white lady, this is a tale of a lady type figure in a long white dress, some say a wedding dress, seen floating over the bottom pond. Some people think this is a different story however this is still Eleanor, some say this could have been around 1200's and some say 1500's there is a lot of myth around this one. However, the monk and Eleanor's skeleton frames where found and Eleanor was where a long white dress.

      Ghostly Woofs some people have said they have seen floating figures of dogs around the ground of the park. There is at the top of the park 3 dog graves, the park dogs where called Floss, Tip and Fluff. Not names I would pick for a dog mind you!

      During October, they open the park at night for a ghost walk; I have been a few times. It only costs normally £2-£3 per person and you get to walk around the park in the dark while the tour guide tells you the haunted tales of the park. You need good walking shoes and flash light! Don't forget to wrap up warm if you go.

      www.ghostlysightings.moonfruit.com/#/haden-hill-06/4518026012

      Overall:

      For me this park is a great free place to go visit, no matter what age there is something to spark your interest. Over the years I have met some lovely dog walkers, my dog Josh has loved playing with the other dogs it has just been a friendly, homely place for me. It is great they hold mini events, it is certainly well looked after. A good size so is never seems over crowded, a place I will take my own children one day for them to make happy memories.

      Five out of five stars from me.

      Thank you for reading.

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