Haden Hall

The original family home was Haden Hall, but in 1877 when George Alfred Haden Haden-Best inherited the estate from his uncle, Frederic W. G. Barrs, known as the Squire. His great nephew John Haden-Badley has this to say of his funeral:

Haden-Best originally intended to demolish Haden Hall and extend his own house, but his elderly Aunt, widow of the Squire, lived in the hall, and by the time she died in 1903 he had lost the will to enlarge Haden Hill House, so the two buildings remained side by side.

Haden House

George Alfred lived in Haden Hill House with two local girls, Emily Bryant and Alice Cockin, who became his adopted daughters. They were the children of local families, and he took them into his home and bought them up as his own. They were given an upper class lifestyle, and Emily remained with Mr Best until his death in 1921. Alice married John Shaw, a local doctor, and they lived in Haden Hall for a while.
Following his death of in 1921 the Victorian building and estate, including 55 acres (220,000 m2) of land, Haden Hill house and Haden Hall, was bought for 8,500 by public subscription for use as a park for the local community. The title deeds were handed to Rowley Regis Urban District Council on 14 October 1922, and the park was then open for public use.

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"My most vivid memory is of his funeral -- one of the last, I imagine, in the old style, the horses caparisoned in black with black plumes   nodding on their heads, and mutes walking on either side of the hearse wearing, as did all the mourners, flowing crepe scarves that reached from their hats down to their heels. After the long drive to the church and back came a sumptuous funeral feast, which all regarded as the central feature of the day. In the afternoon two of my cousins (the elder two sons of Emiline (Best) and Walter Bassano, of whom he has much more to say) and myself stole away into the shrubberies where we could play our games (thought rather shame-facedly on such a day); there at least we could escape from the booming voice of the Rector and the sound evangelical doctrines that he seemed to think this the appropriate occasion for instilling into us"