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The Keele Estate came into the possession of the Sneyd Family, influential North Staffordshire landowners, in 1544 and the first manor house was built on the property by Ralph Sneyd in 1580. With interests in coal and iron and also brick and tiles, the family prospered in the 19th Century and in this period, the original house was remodelled several times. Between 1851 and 1861, it was replaced with the present Keele Hall designed by the celebrated Victorian architect Anthony Salvin well known for his work on Windsor Castle, Alnwick castle and the Houses of Parliament.
Salvin designed a mock Jacobean building constructed with local red sandstone with contrasting Hollington stone dressings. Features included a three-storeyed castellated entrance with four octagonal turrets and curved gables. The eastern façade overlooked sweeping lawns down to an ornamental lake, arboretum and extensive woodlands, which were landscaped by William Emes in the 18th century.
The Hall has a long and colourful history; it provided a home and a place of exile for a Russian Grand Duke in the early 1900s and was requisitioned by the army during World War II. In 1948, with the aid of grant funding, the Keele estate was purchased from another Ralph Sneyd for the establishment of the University College of North Staffordshire. In 1962 the college became Keele University and the Hall was the centre of academic and social life for the early students.
Today Keele Hall remains a beautiful stately home surrounded by the hundreds of acres of woodland, gardens and seven beautiful lakes which make up the green campus. It is the oldest mansion house in Staffordshire and has many original features including grand fireplaces, galleries and feature windows. It is also home to one of the finest displays of Mason’s Ironstone and Porcelain, the Raven Mason Collection.
Keele Hall is used extensively for conferences, University events and CPD activities, and provides a spectacular venue for weddings. As the base for the new Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Keele students will again enjoy a range of academic activities here in this in this inspirational, historic setting.