National Sports Centre and the home of Archery GB, British Gymnastics and the English Institute of Sport.
A truly spectacular setting for your special day.
Lilleshall - the ideal choice for all your meetings and conferences.
Complete your visit with an overnight stay.  Accommodation for our guests is available onsite.

History of Lilleshall

 

1831 - 1916

Completed in 1831 as a Hunting Lodge and family retreat for the Duke of Sutherland, Lilleshall Hall was designed by the architect Sir John Wyattville with considerable assistance from the 2nd Duke of Sutherland’s wife, Duchess Harriet, who had an appreciation of architecture and landscape gardening. The Duchess made detailed notes of all the houses and gardens she visited and introduced many features into the family’s houses and estates.

  

The approach to the Estate from the main Wolverhampton to Chester Road is through the “Golden Gates” which are exact replicas of those adorning Buckingham Palace. The 70 foot high Obelisk, visible from Chapters and standing on Lilleshall Hill, was built in 1833 in memory of the 1st Duke of Sutherland. 

 

1917 - 1948

Lilleshall Hall and the 50 acres of gardens were sold in 1917 to Sir John Lee who in turn sold the Hall and the remaining acreage in 1927 to Mr Herbert Ford. Mr Ford was a local man and shrewd businessman who acquired his wealth from the industry of the Ironbridge Gorge and, no doubt, from a wealthy wife who was a member of the Perrins family, of Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce Fame.

When business at the Hall was slow, Mr Ford advertised that the (Hildenburg) Zeppelin would fly over the estate and invited the public to come and see it. The actual route was no-where near Lilleshall, but he got the crowd in and then stood up on the podium viewing the flypast and read out a telegram he had sent himself. “Due to bad weather the flight of the Zeppelin has been re-routed and that it will no longer be seen flying over the Hall”. No Zeppelin; but plenty of people using the facilities.

 

1949 - 1965

In 1949 the Central Council of Physical Recreation were seeking a second National Recreation Centre to serve the North of England to complement Bisham Abbey. Mr Basil MacNay of the C.C.P.R identified Lilleshall Hall as a suitable site and although not strictly in the North it was chosen, Mr Ford agreed to sell the hall and ten acres of the Estate. The purchase by the C.C.P.R was made possible by a financial gift from the people of South Africa to the Atlee Government.

  


The plaque and photographs in the main entrance to the Hall commemorates the Official Opening performed by the then Princess Elizabeth on the 8th June 1951. Mr Jim Lane was appointed as the first warden and annual summer schools were held from 21st July until 8th September for many major sports Governing Bodies. In the first year nineteen courses were held lasting from 7 to 14 days with training for a wide range of sports.

 

1966 - 1998

It was Lilleshall’s connection with Association Football that brought the Centre to the attention of the Nation. The England team trained for two weeks at Lilleshall prior to their success in World Cup of 1966. In 1967, when Sir Alfred Ramsey returned to the Centre to unveil a plaque to commemorate his team’s stay and endorse the view that Lilleshall could justly claim some credit for England’s famous victory. This plaque today sits proudly on the wall of Queens Hall bar along with an autographed photograph of the successful squad.

From 1949 many improvements and additions to the facilities were introduced and in 1984 The Football Association’s School of Excellence was established at Lilleshall welcoming young talent such as Michael Owen, Jamie Carragher, Sol Campbell and Joe Cole to name but a few. After 15 successful years, the School of Excellence closed in the summer of 1999 and many Premiership Football Clubs have now established their own Centres of Excellence, based on the Lilleshall model.

 

1999 – Present Day

Today Lilleshall is one of the UK’s National Sports Centres, training grounds and centres of excellence for the country’s leading sportsmen and women who can take advantage of a range of world class facilities. Several National Governing Bodies of Sport and other professional organisations are based at the Centre, including the Olympic Sports of Gymnastics and Archery, together with the English Institute of Sport.

  

Lilleshall regularly welcomes use by numerous other National Governing Bodies of Sport, Sporting Associations and other Professional Sports Clubs and high profile teams throughout the year on both a national and international basis.

Lilleshall is accessible for sports groups and the general public at all levels and the Centre is a base for many community based clubs and local schools who can take advantage of the extensive on-site facilities. Set in such beautiful surroundings and gardens, together with a range of superb meeting and hospitality facilities, Lilleshall is also an ideal venue for conferences, corporate events, weddings and celebrations.

Contact Us

  
 
Sports Facilities
Great sporting facilities for both Elite and Public users.
 
Weddings
The perfect venue for your special day.
 
Conferences & Meetings
Take a look at the range of meeting & conference facilities we have – with 11 rooms to choose from
 
Accommodation
Looking for somewhere to stay?  Take a look at our accommodation, suitable for any occasion.
 
Contact Us
Please contact us with any questions you may have.

 

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