History of Home Farm
The Keele Hub Building is the renovated old Home Farm Building. The physical centre of the Keele Hub was sited within an existing historic building not only to preserve and revive the history of the site but also because renovating an existing building is less energy intensive and more sustainable than building from scratch.
Home Farm was not the original farmstead on the Keele estate. That was located next to Keele Hall and was pulled down to make way for the new stables (where the Music Department is now).
Home Farm was built in 1833 during the extensive landscaping works carried out by Ralph Sneyd, which he started almost as soon as he inherited the estate after his father's death in 1829.
Thus the prestigious stables would be convenient for the house and the less prepossessing farm buildings, and any associated unpleasant smells were now nearly half a mile away on the far side of Pavilion Hill.
Home Farm was a 'Model Farm'. The first Model Farms were built in the 1790s during the reign of George III, a time of rapid population growth, when maximising agricultural output was not only necessary to feeding the rising population but also considered a patriotic duty.
The architecture and layout of model farms was designed to enable agricultural experimentation and improvement. In Staffordshire and Cheshire this included increasing dairy output by feeding the cattle higher quality fodder produced by the simple means of fertilising the pasture with manure. Improvements to the farm outbuildings were made throughout the mid 1800s.
Home Farm is unusual because it was one of only 20 built in the 1830s. It is actually older than Keele Hall which was built from 1855-1860, on the site of the old Keele Hall built around 1580. It is a good example of a typical model farm built for the best agricultural practices of the day and its renovation for the Keele Hub preserves much of its original features for the future.