HomeHaddonfield NewsHaddonfield’s Lullworth Hall is worth saving, historian says

Haddonfield’s Lullworth Hall is worth saving, historian says

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Haddonfield is a town filled with lush history and many historic places and homes. One of those historic places is Lullworth Hall, located at 425 Kings Highway East.

In Haddonfield’s Bancroft Redevelopment Plan, Lullworth Hall is to be preserved due to its historical significance and used for some sort of adaptive reuse. Kathy Tassini, an official borough historian, gave a brief history of the building to inform the public on why it should be preserved in the plans.

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“Although the school is leaving, it is an iconic part of the school, as it was one of the very first schools for special needs students … It is also one of the finest Queen Anne Victorian style architect buildings in the town,” Tassini said.

Lullworth Hall was built on the corner of Kings Highway East and Hopkins Lane in 1886 by Charles Mann for his family. Charles was the son of William Mann, the owner of a big stationery company in Philadelphia. Charles was the president of the Haddonfield Electric Light and Power Company. When he built the house, he installed electricity, making it the first house with electric lights in Haddonfield.

Lullworth Hall was the family home of the Manns until 1919 when Jenzia Cooley, the woman who succeeded Margaret Bancroft, bought it for the Bancroft School.

Bancroft, started by Margaret Bancroft in 1954, was one of the first and most prominent schools for children with developmental disabilities. Because the school was growing, it needed more space, so Cooley acquired it for additional use.

Cooley owned the home until 1956 when she died and in her deed sold Lullworth Hall to the school for $1. Since 1919, Lullworth Hall has been used for the Bancroft School.

As for the historical design of the house, Lullworth Hall’s Victorian Queen Anne style, which was new for the time, had more asymmetrical designs and bigger and more open rooms, compared to Victorians built in earlier years.

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“No expense was spared in building that house for sure. It is just magnificent,” Tassini said.

Though Tassini has only been there a few times, she says the first floor is beautiful and still intact, though slightly altered as it is being used for administration offices for Bancroft NueroHealth now. The exterior was renovated from historic preservation grants over the years, since it had been decaying.

The history of Lullworth Hall gives the borough many reasons to preserve it, Tassini said.

If someone were to try to demolish the property, Tassini said it would be hard as Lullworth Hall is part of the town’s historic district, the state’s register of historic places and the national register of historic places. On those registries, historic houses are protected from bad renovations and demolition. A historic preservation commission must approve everything.

“I think tearing it down would be a terrible thing. I don’t see any chance of that happening … I think someone who is creative could really do something wonderful with that space because, unlike older Victorians, (Lullworth Hall) has nice big bright rooms,” Tassini said.

According to the Bancroft Redevelopment Plan, Lullworth Hall is planned to be preserved and enhanced due to its historical significance. Since the building’s interior has been altered to accommodate an office use, a professional firm or business service would be the most likely candidates for its next occupant. Other ideas include a bed and breakfast inn or reverting it back to residential use.

The intention is for the borough to sell Lullworth Hall so it will be transferred to private ownership and become a tax ratable.

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