History of Preston Hall

Marshall Robinson Fowler

1825– Preston Hall was built in 1825 by David Burton Fowler. The 1820 plan of Preston Park shows how it would have looked.

when Fowler bought it. It was an agricultural estate comprising of four farms, a quarry, and brickworks. It was also much bigger than the area we know today. It remained in this form until 1882

1828- David Burton Fowler died in 1828. His great nephew, Marshall Robinson was the next in line. He inherited the Hall on the proviso that he add ‘Fowler’ to his existing name.

1878- Marshall Fowler II (Marshall Robinson Fowler’s younger son) inherited Preston Hall on the death of his father in 1878. He sold the Hall and part of the park to Robert (later Sir Robert) Ropner in 1882. The rest of the park was retained by the Fowlers and continued to be farmed.

Preston Hall

1882-  Across several decades, Ropner added a number of Victorian extensions to the Hall and became very wealthy, working tirelessly to benefit the community and gaining many accolades. In 1924, Ropner left the Hall to his youngest son, Leonard.

1937- When Leonard died in 1937, the Hall ceased to be a family home. The estate was managed by the Executors of Leonard’s will.

1947– After World War II the Hall was sold to a property developer-but the housing scheme failed and the Hall was bought by the Stockton Corporation.

Preston Hall Museum exhibit 3


1953– On June 3rd, 1953, Preston Hall was officially opened for the first time as a public museum. Its collection continued to grow rapidly, eventually reaching roughly 100,000 items.

1970- In the 1970s, the museum was redesigned once again, with the addition of a replica Victorian Street, a long-time favourite with visitors.

2008- It was in 2008 that the museum won a successful bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for nearly £7 million, allowing for the first large-scale renovation and restoration project since it became a museum. Additional financial support was provided by Stockton Borough Council and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and various parties such as Tees Archaeology, Quarmby Construction, RS Displays and Pollen Studios played major roles in the three-year project.

2012- The museum reopened with a brand new image and its reputation as one of Stockton’s major cultural attractions was reinforced tenfold. It reached its Diamond Jubilee the following year, and continues to intrigue and inspire the people of Stockton with exciting programmes and themed events.

Spence Room