THE VICTORIANS knew how to build houses.
Large, imposing and solid, they represented the confidence of a country upon whose empire the sun never set.
Sadly, though they were capable of standing the test of time, they were less resilient to the foibles of architectural fashion.
Many of the larger homes of the period, though still sound and serviceable, were razed to the ground to make way for the ticky-tacky boxes of the middle years of the 20th century.
But a few managed to escape the wrecking ball.
One such fine Victorian home is Park Hill, in Pringle Lane, Stone. Erected in 1884, it is one of the few remaining examples in the town.
Victorian style is now back in vogue. Built to last, and with lots of attention to detail, such homes have become highly sought-after.
“The house would suit a family with growing children,” says Richard Britten, the current owner.
“There are two cottages attached which would be useful accommodation for young people, or those with elderly relatives who want to live independently.”
Richard and his wife Diane bought Park Hill back in 2003.
Here they have raised their daughters, Laura and Ruth.
The couple, who have added a sun room and gymnasium to the house, are sorry to be leaving.
“Diane’s mother spent her final years in one of thecottages,” says Richard.
“That was one of the reasons we bought the place.
“But now the two girls have grown up and moved away, it’s just a little too big for us.”
Richard and Diane are moving to a smaller house nearby, but they will leave behind many memories.
“It’s a house which offers so many options in terms of the space,” says Richard.
“Though we’re sad to be leaving, it’s comforting to know that another family will find all they need here.”
Park Hill is an example of Victorian elegance, located within walking distance of Stone town centre.
It boasts many original period features and offers spacious accommodation within the main house.
The property also has two self-contained cottages, High Lodge and Low Lodge, and a large studio room adjoining the three car garage.
Richard and Diane have carried out a great deal of work in their time at Park Hill.
“We carried out refurbishment when we bought the house,” says Richard, “which involved a complete electrical and plumbing work.
“We didn’t actually move in until three months later.”
They have also worked hard to maintain the essential Victorian elegance of the main building.
The entrance hall is an imposing example of the period, with beautiful parquet flooring and an open staircase leading to a galleried landing.
There are all the design aspects one would imagine in a building of this era, including high ceilings and large windows.
There’s even a billiards room on the ground floor.
There is also a series of very useful cellar rooms in the main house.
“The house used to stand in larger grounds, but much of the land was sold off in previous years,” says Richard.
“The current garden is manageable. Indeed, we have preferred to use it as a place for entertainment.
“That’s not to say that a keen gardener wouldn’t find things to do. It’s a property with something to offer all.”
This house, with its period charm and flexibility really deserves a proper examination. And if you’re looking for a large family home, with plenty of living space, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better example.