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Call to preserve home of mountaineering legend
A MOBBERLEY woman fears the former home of mountaineering legend George Mallory could be left to ‘wrack and ruin’.
Anne Shipton and her husband Paul lived at Hobcroft House in Hobcroft Lane for eight years, but moved out on Friday due to uncertainty about the building’s future.
George Mallory was the first to attempt to climb Mount Everest in 1924, but died on the mountain.
As a young boy, he honed his climbing skills by scaling the chimney tops at Hobcroft House.
However it is a very different scene today.
The four-storey house is under the take-off and landing zone of Manchester Airport’s runway two, and was bought as a compulsory purchase.
Countless Knutsford and Mobberley families living in the runway’s flight path have fought for compensation from the airport.
Former Hobcroft House tenant Anne was never bothered by the noise.
But in January she was told that the airport intended to sell the house.
Anne told the Guardian she was originally given until March and then September to find new rented accommodation.
A spokesman for Manchester Airport said this has now been extended until April.
But the uncertainty led to Anne and Paul making the decision to move out anyway.
“They can’t make up their minds what they want to do with it,” said Anne.
“We loved it here, but it didn’t feel like we knew if we would be here from one month to the next.”
Because planes fly in and out so close to the property, some by less than 100 metres, there are major maintenance issues.
Manchester Airport has paid around £5,000 towards fixing the roof and chimney and on internal works.
But Anne says there has not been a regular schedule of maintenance, and is concerned that the historic house could gradually fall into disrepair or be vulnerable to thieves.
Hobcroft House was home to George Mallory’s father, The Rev Herbert Leigh Mallory, the former rector of Mobberley, and there is a date stone on the property with his initials dated 1890.
George’s younger brother Trafford Leigh Mallory also grew up in Hobcroft House before becoming a senior commander in the Royal Air Force and fought in both World Wars.
“It’s a shame to see a bit of history rot away,” Anne said.
“Although it’s big, it’s tucked away, and a lot of people won’t know about it.
“You read about lost houses, and if we’re not careful this will be ‘the lost house of Mobberley’.
“Historically we should preserve it as a place of value.
“Its connections to famous people seems to be ignored.
“It needs somebody to move in to keep it secure. Otherwise it will be boarded up and left to wrack and ruin.”
A Manchester Airport spokesman said: “Hobcroft House is a distinctive residence with an important history.
“Our letting agents have maintained dialogue with the current tenants, who have recently indicated they will be vacating the property and our agent is actively seeking new tenants.
“The property has the potential to be a substantial home, and in the medium to long-term we will be looking to offer it for sale – hopefully coinciding with the recovery of the housing market.
“As is the case for any business, we would not allow an asset such as this to reduce in value.”