Cooper Hill

Cooper Hill - Walton-le-Dale - 1855 - Hardwick

Cooper Hill, Church Brow, Walton-le-Dale

Cooper Hill, now demolished, was a large house overlooking the village. One of the past owners was a great friend of the American scientist, and Founding Father of the United States, Benjamin Franklin, who invented the lightning conductor. It is claimed that Franklin tested out his invention on the roof of Cooper Hill during a visit.
The friend of Benjamin Franklin residing at Cooper Hill was General John Burgoyne, Preston M.P. from 1768 to 1792. Benjamin Franklin visited Cooper Hill in 1771 and 1775. Just three years after his second visit, Britain and America were at war with each other, and Franklin and Burgoyne were obviously on opposing sides.
Another well-known resident was Charles Swainson. He was the head of Swainson, Birley & Co. who ran a large mill in the Fishwick area of Preston, known locally as the “Big Factory”. Between 1809 and 1825 Swainson and his various partners also owned the Bannister Hall textile printing works. In 1845 Swainson was chairman of the Preston and Longridge Railway.

This image comes from a book called ‘The History of the Borough of Preston and Its Environs in the County of Lancaster’, By Charles Hardwick that was published in 1857. At the time, it was recorded as ‘The Seat of Charles Swainson Esquire’.

Cooper Hill - Walton-le-Dale
Cooper Hill – Walton-le-Dale

I think the view is from the land at the side of the former Mill Pond, looking north. The artist would have been stood on what is now the recreation ground, somewhere near to, or on, the cricket pitch.

A number of related images can be seen, in the Preston Digital Archive, here:


Kay's Garage and Cooper Hill House, Church Brow, Walton-le-Dale c.1950