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Holland v Hodgson (1872) LR 7 CP 328

The owner of a mill purchased some looms for use in his mill. They were attached to the stone floor by nails driven into wooden beams. They could quite easily be removed. The owner then mortgaged the mill and failed to keep up the payments and the mill was repossessed. The question for the court was whether the looms were fixtures forming part of the land or whether they remained chattels.

Held:

The looms had become fixtures and thus formed part of the land mortgaged.

Blackburn J  introduced the degree and object of annexation test:

“ an article which is affixed to the land even slightly is to be considered as part of the land, unless the circumstances are such as to shew that it was intended to all along continue a chattel, the onus lying on those who contend that it is a chattel.”

Under this test, the question to be asked is whether the chattel was attached to the land to enable the object to be better enjoyed as a chattel, or for the more convenient use of the land.

Blackburn J on the object of annexation:

"Thus blocks of stone placed one on the top of another without any mortar or cement for the purpose of forming a dry stone wall would become part of the land, though the same stones, if deposited in a builder's yard and for convenience sake stacked on the top of each other in the form of a wall, would remain chattels."

Back to lecture outline on fixtures and chattels in land law