Description: In 1810 John Bateman, a successful engineer and industrialist moved to Staffordshire when he bought the Knypersley Hall and Biddulph Grange estates. His son, James Bateman became fascinated by orchids at a very young age and in 1837, at the age of 26 James Bateman had the first of six parts of his book, 'Orchidaceae of Mexico and Guatemala' published. It is still the largest botanical book ever to be produced, and secured his reputation as a botanist worldwide. When James Bateman married Maria Sybilla in 1838 he became part of one of Cheshire's most distinguished families. Her family also had a strong gardening tradition. James Bateman met Edward Cooke, the artist and garden designer around 1847. Together they designed the scheme for Bateman's Biddulph estate. Bateman spent over twenty years designing the house, a lavish Italianate mansion. It was built c1868-9, but was largely burnt down in 1896. The gardens were begun before Cooke became involved, but he conceived the Italian and Chinese gardens, and the Egyptian Court.
The Biddulph Grange estate remained in the Bateman family until 1872, when it was bought by leading local industrialist, Robert Heath. His son, also Robert, inherited the house in 1893, but during alterations in 1896 a large part of the building was burnt down. A new house was built in 'heavy renaissance baronial style', which takes in the surviving wings of the old building. In 1923 the Grange became a hospital, and remained so until it was made a Conservation Area in the late 1970s. The National Trust acquired the estate in the early 1980s and began an extensive programme of restoration. Biddulph Grange has since been restored to its former Victorian glory and is a popular visitor destination.