Those at the Hall and at The Lloyd were certainly near to God,
at least, in the eyes of eighteenth century society!
Ellen died in 1829, the estate passing to her son,
William Bradney Persehouse.
Unlike his mother he was absent from Penn for long periods and
after his death in 1843 the Hall was let to William Underhill.
We know William paid £146 every Michaelmas for the privilege of
living there. It was a perfectly situated gentleman's residence
for a Wolverhampton iron stockholder; near enough to business
and trade and yet away from the dirt and grime of a fast
expanding industrial town.
With the death of William and the expiry of the lease the Hall
and its 388 acres of land in Upper and Lower Penn were put up
for sale. George Harry Bradney Persehouse, the owner, lived in
Manchester and had little time or interest in his Midland
The Hall itself was
bought in 1902 by Thomas Francis Waterhouse. He engaged the
architect, H. T. Hare to remodel and improve the building. It
appears that by 1907 Thomas Waterhouse was already in financial
difficulties and living beyond his means, but this was not yet
public knowledge and bankruptcy proceedings would not begin
until 1922. He was committed for trial for fraudulently
appropriating clients' funds for his own use. However, in 1914
all this was in the future and his war history was to be
impressive. It was he who went, with the rank of major, to
France with the sixth battalion of the South Staffordshire
regiment. It was one of the first territorial battalions to
serve in France and by 1915 Thomas had been made up to
Lieutenant Colonel and put in charge. At the battle of Vermelles
he was cut down, severely wounded by shrapnel and not expected
to live. It says something of the man, for a year later at the
age of fifty-one he was again ready for duty.
In 1924 with his now public financial disgrace the Hall was sold
to a local industrialist. Francis J Gibbons of the Wolverhampton
lockmaking and ornamental ironwork firm. He had been living at
The Beeches, in
what had been the late seventeenth/early eighteenth century
Upper Penn farm. As Francis moved to Penn Hall the Penn hospital
moved from St. Catherine's Crescent to the Beeches. Older
residents remember Francis as a kindly man and he stayed at the
Hall until his death in 1948. After the war accommodation of any
sort was at a premium and many of Wolverhampton's larger houses
found alternative roles e.g., Muchall Grove as accommodation for
the town planners, Claremont as an old people's home.
So it was to be that Penn Hall was bought by the expanding
borough police service. It was used as a residential and
training hostel for the next 25 years.
In 1974 and with the creation of a West Midlands Police
Authority, the Hall was again sold. It was bought by the
education committee and developed and expanded as the Penn Hall
School. There is much tasteful new building, which complements
the Georgian mansion on this site. Raphael Sedgwick would be
pleased that his plans for a hospital almost 300 years ago, have
today, in spirit, become a reality. Penn Hall School serves the
needs of students with physical handicap. The wheel has thus
turned full circle.