• Front Page
  • Hotel Spaces
    • Bedrooms & Suites

    • Classic Rooms

      Discover More

    • Junior Suites

      Discover More

    • Suites

      Discover More

    • Bridal Suite

      Discover More

    •  

      Dining & Lounging

    • Hillbark Grill

      One of the Wirral's hidden gems for inclusive meat & vegetable grilled dining.

      View Menu

    • Riviera Cellar Restaurant

      Discover More 

    • Afternoon Tea

      Discover More

    • Sunday Sharing Roasts

      View Menu

    • Champagne Breakfast

      Discover More

    • Spa

    • Spa Treatments

      Discover More

    • Spa Packages

      Discover More

    • Spa Days

      Discover More

    • SPA ETIQUETTE

      Discover More

    • Civil Ceremony

      Discover More

    • Multicultural Weddings

      Discover More

    • Distinctive Spaces

      Discover More

    • Fairytale Weddings

      Discover More

    • Personal Celebrations

      Discover More

    • Funeral Gatherings

      Discover More

    • Business

    • Meeting Rooms

      Discover More

    • Team Building

      Discover More

    • Champagne Breakfast

      Discover More

  • Hillbark Events
    • Offers

    • Overnight Packages

      Discover More

    • Spa Offers

      Discover More

    • Key Events

      Discover More

  • Vouchers & Experiences

    Hillbark History: The house built by the soap millionaire

    Period Covered: 1856 to 1891

     

    Robert William Hudson was born in 1856 in West Bromwich. His father was Robert Spear Hudson, and his mother was Mary Bell, and they had married in 1854. His mother must have been very beautiful to capture his father’s heart, as he was a well-to-do businessman, and she was apparently a poor girl from a farming family who made her living selling goats milk to locals.

    Robert was one of six children, and he was only four years old when his mother died in 1860. His father married again in 1868, when Robert junior was 12 years old, to Emily Gilroy of Donnybrook, Dublin.

    The family then moved to an historic house in Chester called Bache Hall (next to the site of the Countess of Chester hospital). The house had been damaged during the Civil War, and when they moved in it was a plain 18th century brick-built building of two storeys and five bays. During the time he lived there, Robert Hudson senior made many improvements, including adding an Italianate porch. Robert Junior grew up there and it may have been Bache Hall which gave him his love of historic buildings and unusual architecture.

    Robert’s father had built up a hugely successful business making soap powder and soap flakes and had become wealthy and influential, eventually running two factories in Liverpool and West Bromwich.

    He would have been well aware of his son’s interest in historically interesting houses, and in July 1884 when Robert Junior was 28, he began the process of purchasing Sibbersfield Hall in Cheshire, situated close to the Duke of Westminster’s Estates, which dated from at least 1300.

    However, Robert Senior died before the purchase was completed. He left an estate worth £300,000, and Robert junior inherited Bache Hall. Presumably, he found Sibbersfield was now not needed because he never actually moved into the old Hall.

    Just seven years later in 1891, Robert set his sights on building his own mock-Elizabethan house on Bidston Hill, which he called Bidston Court and which was later to become Hillbark House.



    ..