Above: A drawing of Sandown Hall by James Brierley, circa 1830.
In 1821 the following advertisement of a Sale by Auction appeared in the Liverpool Mercury:
'On Wednesday 1st August at the George Inn, Dale Street. The Mansion, Stables, Outbuilding, Grounds comprising the Eastern part of the beautiful and valuable estate in Wavertree called SANDOWN. 19 Statute acres formerly in occupation of Mr Willis Earle - Copyhold of Inheritance. In part separate from the Western part of estate by sunken fence. An abundance of healthy young timber growing.'
It seems likely that Sandown Hall had been built for this Mr Earle, a coal merchant with a yard in Stanhope Street, Liverpool, in about 1810. Another coal merchant, John Menzies with an office in Old Hall Street, also lived on the Sandown estate: an 1815 Property Tax Return for the Township of Wavertree lists the two men together as 'Earle Willis & Mr Menzies' (assessment £360). Willis Earle's elder brother, Richard Willis of Halsnead Park, was the owner of coal mines in the Prescot area.
By 1824 the occupier of Sandown Hall was George Decimus Littledale, the tenth son of Henry Littledale of Whitehaven. Born in 1783, he had married Harriet France of Bostock, Cheshire, in 1822, but died after only four years of marriage. It seems as though Hugh Hornby - the man who was to occupy the house for over 45 years - bought the house soon after.
Hugh Hornby had been born in Kirkham, Lancashire, in 1792. His brother Joseph had moved to Everton in about 1821, but Hugh travelled extensively in the countries surrounding the Black Sea. He met and married Louise Cortazzi, the daughter of the Venetian consul in Smyrna, and the couple set up home in Everton. Hugh went into partnership with his brother, the firm having its office in Exchange Buildings, Liverpool, and specialising in trade with Russia.