Mere Brook House was built in 1897-98 by John Orrell, a Liverpool brewer. Prior to occupying Mere Brook, he lived next door in “The Foxes” and, during the construction, he supervised operations from a wicker chair in the open air. Although Orrell died in 1905, the house remained in his family and was occupied by Thomas, John’s son, and Thomas’s niece until 1918. The house was then empty for two years before being purchased by Cass, an accountant for Lever at Port Sunlight.
He divided the house into two and let the coach house. He subsequently sold off land on which he had built a pair of semi-detached houses and a bungalow. Around 1928, he went to live in one of the houses and sold Mere Brook to the Englen family, two brothers and two sisters who turned the house back into one residence. The Englen sisters sold the house to a Mr Nickson in 1937.
Then, in 1941, it was bought or rented by Ann Davidson (and her husband), who was famous as the first woman to cross the Atlantic single-handedly. In her book, “Last Voyage”, she describes Mere Brook House as “an uninspired stucco villa, the outside belying an interior of pleasantly proportioned rooms” but “desolate, neglected and overgrown”. The Davidsons had two ponies, goats, hens and ducks. Ann mentions going everywhere on horseback, or pony and trap, and selling apples from the orchard in Birkenhead. The family stayed for three years and Ann comments in her book: “In some ways, these few years at Mere Brook were the happiest in our lives”.
The house was subsequently bought in 1944 by Mrs Jackson, who, in turn, sold it to Dr McGibbon and his wife Betty in 1949. The McGibbons progressively restored and repainted the house to as high a standard as possible in light of post-war shortages. Fortunately, good timber was still available. The panelling in the dining room came from John McGibbon’s consulting rooms in Rodney Street, Liverpool, where he had originally installed it after salvaging it from a Hertfordshire house that was being demolished. Sotheby’s date it around 1650.
The fireplace in the hall was a bedhead in Betty McGibbon’s family home, which they, as children, had always been told belonged to Prince Llewelyn. Betty McGibbon’s daughter sent a letter in 1987 to the previous owner stating “Well, we all loved Mere Brook. We kept pigs in the sties - kindly built by the German POW’s - lots of chickens and Chinese Geese which we gave to Chester Zoo”. She added that, having seen a recent photograph of the house, it looked exactly the same as when she had lived there. Mr and Mrs David Aicken purchased the house from Mrs McGibbon in 1960. Aicken was a naval architect.
Today's owners, Donald and Lorna Tyson, bought Mere Brook House in 2002, when the Aickens decided to move to a smaller house in Caldy. Donald and Lorna let the property to a South African family and then a Dutch family before embarking on a renovation and extension programme in 2006. This was in preparation for developing a bed and breakfast business. The main house, with four bedrooms, was opened in 2008. The coach house, providing a further four bedrooms, was completed in 2012.