History of
Preston Hall


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.

An Image Showing What Preston Hall Would Have Looked Like In 1825

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.

A Black And White Photograph Of Marshall Robinson

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.

Marshall Fowler Ii

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. This is a picture of Mrs Ropner and her dog. When Leonard died in 1937, the Hall ceased to be a family home. The estate was managed by the Executors of Leonard’s will.

Mrs Ropner Holding Her Dog

After World War II, the Hall was sold to a property developer. However, the housing scheme failed and the Hall was bought by the Stockton Corporation.

Ashmore, Benson, Pease At Preston Hall

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.

Picture Of Preston Hall Circa 1950

In the 1970s, the museum was redesigned once again, with the addition of a replica Victorian Street, a long-time favourite with visitors. Here is a photo of one of the Period Rooms.

The Period Rooms At Preston Hall Museum In 1970

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.

Replica Victorian Street In 2008

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.

A Weapon Explosion. Case On Display At Preston Park Museum