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Ford House, situated in the centre of the park, and is designated as a grade two listed building. It was built between 1857-60, on the site of an earlier building known as Hoad Cottage. Although this earlier building was called a cottage, it must have been quite sizable as the owner had a large number of children, as well as a maid and a servant. The old Coach House is the most probable site of Hoad cottage.

Ford House was built for Montague Ainslie who owned Grizedale Hall and the estate near Hawkshead.  Ford House was originally built for his son, William G. Ainslie who was Chairman and a major shareholder of the North Lonsdale Iron and Steel Company in South Ulvertson, which stood on the site which is now occupied by Glaxo.  W.G. Ainslie became the first MP for Lonsdale and moved to London in 1865. Ford House was then used as a town house by the Ainslie family.

In the 1870's it was let to a local solicitor, John Poole, who later bought it. In the early part of the 20th century it was owned by Richard Crosthwaite who was a local timber merchant, he occupied the estate until the late 1920,s and then in the early thirties the whole estate was passed to Ulverston Urban District Council.
There was anecdotal evidence that the estate had been gifted to U.D.C. but as records have not been found we cannot say if that was true or not. In 1942 the Ministry of Defence took over the estate to house the US army, and then after the war it was passed back to U.D.C.
The house was then used as an annex for Ulverson Victoria Lower School, which was administered by Lancashire County Council. In 1948 U.D.C. sold the whole estate to L.C.C. for use as a school.

The building suffered some very unsympathetic alterations shortly after this and nowadays it is difficult to say exactly how the interior used to look. We found an inventory in the local records office drawn up before the MOD took possession in 1942 which suggested that the house was crammed with paraphernalia, a lot like the TV series upstairs, downstairs. 

Many of Ulverstons present generations were taught in the rooms and grounds of Ford Park which carried on as a school annex under Cumbria County Council until 1995. The adjacent school, Victoria lower school, closed in 1995 and Ford House and the Coach House were boarded up and the site fell into dereliction until it was rescued by the community group.


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Support for Proposed Development

Thursday 8 January 2015

Proposed development to secure the future of Ford Park:Information for members, friends & neighbours Summary of the plans Ford Park Community Group wants to build eight houses (two of them single storey) at the entrance to the park, near to Ford Park Crescent. The houses will cover a relatively small area of the parkland and will not affect the use of Ford Park as a resource for the whole community. Crucially, the income from this development will secure the future of Ford Park as a public amenity. If this modest development does not go ahead, the charity will be forced to wind up and the land will have to be sold. If this happens, there is a real risk that Ford Park will end up being a neglected eyesore, or that the whole park will be acquired as a site for development. This further information explains the detail of the plans, how they will affect the park and the neighbourhood, and why Ford Park needs your support to ensure its future as a place residents and visitors can enjoy for many years to come.Read More

Contact Details

Ford Park Community Group Ford house, Ford Park, Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 7JP

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