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Stoke Poges Parish Council

Sefton Park

Country seat and polio vaccine laboratory

In the 18th century this was known as Stoke Farm and was purchased by the 2nd Earl of Sefton as his country seat. In 1838, on his father’s death, his eldest son, Francis Molyneux, returned to the family seat at Croxteth Hall in Liverpool, leaving the other members of the family at Sefton Park. The census of 1851 shows three of his daughters living in the house with a household of 31 servants.

In 1905, the 4th Lord Decies lived here followed by his brother the 5th Baron who completely rebuilt the South Wing.

In 1917, the diamond merchant Sir Bernard Oppenheimer became the estate's new owner, and after his death it was sold in 1922 to Sir Walter de Freece, husband of the former music hall star, Vesta Tilley. She lived there until 1928.

During the Second World War the house was requisitioned by the War Office and occupied by officers on training courses.

In 1948, the estate was sold at public auction to Glaxo who bought the house and 28 acres of the grounds. Glaxo developed antibiotics, Vitamin B12 and enzymes here. It was also the production centre for about 80% of the vaccines used during the height of the Polio Vaccination campaign of the 1950s and 60s.

GEC occupied the property from 1982 until 1989 when there was an extensive redevelopment of the site and Hitachi Data Systems took up residence in 1992. Several other companies occupy the office park.

It is a Grade II listed national heritage asset.

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