The morning started started early, the first to arrive was the electrician to repair an emergency exit sign, to be shortly followed by the EW Society gardeners. The Spring tidy had to be complete by the arrival time of a group of thirty from the Lighthouse Project, Walkers group. Thank you to the two ‘head gardeners’.
The leader of the group sent the following email:
Thank you so much for our tour today. We all thoroughly enjoyed hearing about Edgar Wood and learning about the church and school rooms.
Please let me know about any forthcoming events or fund-raising activities and I will pass the details on to the walkers.
Meanwhile keep up the good work!
Friends and former students of Jeffrey Lawton gave a concert in the recently restored hall of the Edgar Wood Rooms in his memory. Middleton Rotary organised the concert as Jeffrey was an active Rotarian and former president. The proceeds from the concert will be donated to Springhill Hospice and Rochdale Mind charities, organisations which were close to his heart. It was a fitting tribute that the hall was used, as Jeffrey in his early years as an amateur singer performed many roles on the stage with the Gilbert and Sulivan Society. In his professional life, he was the Principle Tenor with the Welsh National Opera followed by an international career specialising in Verdi and Wagner. On retiring from the stage he became a vocal tutor at the RNCM. Born in Oldham and resident of Middleton (living in an Edgar Wood house) he was a local celebrity and used his talents to support local charities.
Mr. Les Coop the Chairman of the Greater Manchester Preservation Trust thanked the sponsors of the window restoration for their donations towards this work. Individual and group sponsors were represented. Continue reading “A Thank You to the Window Sponsors”
Maureen and Christine of the EWS invited the new RMBC Conservation Officer, Jessica Smith to Long Street Methodist Church and the Edgar Wood School Rooms for a tour. Having ‘brain washed’ Jessica on the importance of EW they went on a walk around the Conservation Area.
Not quite a ‘host’ but this clump of daffs in the garden is always early to bloom, but this year it is especially early.
Since being built in 1900, Long Street Methodist Church and School Rooms has been know as that. However following the building being transferred to the GMBPT in 2010 the site was given the addition name of The Edgar Wood Centre, which was appropriate and mainly applied to the hall and school rooms.
This has led to some confusion as this name was given to the First Church of Christ Scientists, Daisy Bank Rd, (also by Edgar Wood) when it was taken over by Manchester University over twenty years ago.
The EWS committee and GMBPT trustees had a brain storming session on Thursday to come up with name suggestions that may give reference to its past and planned use for weddings, conference and community, Edgar Wood, its location and something that trips off the tongue.
You would think this would be an easy task! Difficult.
Long time friend of Long Street Methodist Church and the Edgar Wood Centre, Andy Marshall, a nationally renowned architectural photographer came to do some shots for the proposed restoration commemoration book.
Sorry Andy, my image doesn’t match your quality.
Nick Berry from Viridor Credits arrived on schedule to look around the school rooms following the restoration (we think it was an inspection of the work) although he didn’t say so. Viridor Credits assisted in supporting the project with a grant and we found them helpful throughout the process and the GMBPT are grateful for their input.
As Nick left the building thirty, year two pupils arrived from Elmwood Junior School, also designed by Edgar Wood. They were being ‘building detectives’ and had previously visited the Parish Church and the Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, both of which have connections to EW. The children looked around the Church and answered ‘searching’ questions before looking around the school rooms. They were especially surprised by how small the classrooms around the hall were compared with their school classrooms.
It was good to have the children for a visit and we hope they enjoyed there time with us and that we may see them on another visit in the future.
The afternoon started with a talk by Dr. Julian Holder of the University of Oxford and EWS member. Title: Exotic Influences on the Arts and Crafts Movement. In an excellent lecture, Julian demonstrated how the English Free Style of architecture emerged from the historic styles of Gothic and vernacular buildings, which had inspired the early Arts and Crafts Movement. Our own Edgar Wood moved from designing buildings influenced by historic and vernacular styles, to a style of his own that is not easily categorised. Julian includes Wood with the English Free Style architects. We look forward to another lecture by Julian on this subject.
The Society AGM followed after a short refreshment break chaired in the absence of David Morris, by Rob Trueblood. There was a good turn out for the talk and business meeting with several members offering to join the committee.
Edgar Wood Society’s David Morris met up with (left to right) Bill, Danny (and his dog) and Pete to see how Edgar Wood’s First Church was faring in its restoration and to assist with some conservation issues.
The Edgar Wood Society is visiting this Saturday and Danny wanted the building to look its best (as far as you can while restoring it). The external redecoration is well under-way and the new garden planting is looking good. All future lighting will be fixed in the garden not on the buiding. The latest set of works included the removal of vast amounts of cabling, trunking and electrical fittings, from when the Centre was used as offices. Two modern radiators have also been removed, exposing more of the original marble panelling and now the historic skirting boards are also being restored. The interior is starting to look very good.
Yesterday on Tuesday 18th September two classes of seven year old children from Boarshaw Primary School visited Long Street Methodist Church. On route they looked at Edgar Wood’s house on Rochdale Road, before visiting the Parish Church and then via the park to Long Street. In the previous week Mr. Wood and his associate had visited the school to tell the children what Middleton was like in his day as a boy and how things had changed.
The boys and girls were attentive and well behaved during their visit, but by lunch time they were ready for their packed sandwiches, before their long walk back to school.
Heywood and Middleton MP Liz McInnes paid a surprise visit today. Liz was unable to attend the opening on the 5th September, because of Parliamentary business, so she came along to the Heritage Open Day this morning. Liz is a member of the Edgar Wood Society and was delighted by the restoration work. We were please to point out the window that she had donated in tribute to her friend and predecessor Jim Dobbin MP.
The society appreciates the support we have had from Liz, in our restoration endeavours.
Although the weather kept many visitor away we did have a special day and time to talk to the visitors who had close connections with the Church and School Rooms. A cub and scout from the 1970’s had fond memories of the activities and leaders of the group and remembered overnight sleep overs on the balcony. Two sisters Sheila and Glynis were both married at Long Street, Sheila in Sept. 1963 and Glynis in March 1967. Sheila’s children were also Christened at the Church. Joan arrived with three programs from Gilbert and Sullivan productions, Mikado 1959, Pinafore 1960 and The Gondoliers 1961. Joan is clearly named in the School Girls Chorus of the operatic and it was good to have time to talk about other members of the cast, which we knew.
Come and see the restored schools on Heritage Open Days 2018.
Friday and Saturday 7th and 8th Sept. open 10.30am to 4pm and Sunday 9th. 1-4pm.
Friday and Saturday 14th and 15th Sept. open 10.30am-4pm and Sunday 16th 1-4pm
Last night’s event of the official opening of the restoration was excellent. There were approximately 150 guests in attendance, with many travelling several hours to attend. The evening started with welcome by the Chair of the Greater Manchester Building Preservation Trust, followed by presentations from the Chair of the THI Board Malcolm Allen, Lisa McFarlane (architect) and Warren Marshall (GMBPT Trustee). Mr. Billy Sheerin ( Depuy Mayor) thanked all the agencies involved on behalf of RMBC. Continue reading “Unveiling of the Opening Plaque”
In preparation for the restoration opening night tomorrow, by the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, the volunteers have been in getting the place ship shape for the event. I bet this is the first time that a lead architect (Lisa) has been seen showing off her a mopping skills.
Not quite the same angles but compare the photograph from Saturday 1st September 2018 above with the early 1900s below. The door canopies have been partly fitted and require their brackets so temporary props are in position. The door plates to match the ones on the left image will then be fitted. Watch this space!
After nine months the scaffolding has been removed from the building to reveal the restored frontage of the lecture room with its leaded lights again after plain glass was installed many years ago. All the other windows have been restored (excluding the church) together with the rain water goods and render and doesn’t it look splendid?
In the restoration of the 1970’s an error was made to the render on the Ladies Parlour, they forgot to do it. Compare the photograph from the early 1900’s with that of 2017. The mistake of the 70’s has been corrected this time around.
Sibby an Edgar Wood Society committee member led a guided tour of 25 on a city centre Arts and Crafts tour. A sell out with the funds being donated to the EWS.
The start was at the war memorial in the Victoria Station, sculpture by George Wragg then on to the Eric Gill bas relief on the Cathedral 1930’s extension. Moving on to the Boar War memorial in St. Ann’s Square followed by Lutyen’s bank on King St. We also found Edgar Wood’s office on King St. (picture above) and the site of his previous office on Cross St. On route we visited the John Ryland’s Library then on to Albert Square to find a fine example of the work of John Cassidy, who designed and made many sculptures for the city.
The staff at the Midland Hotel kindly allowed us to view a beautiful window by George Wragg, before we crossed the road to Lutyen’s war memorial. The tour concluded at this point although several of the group went on to the Art Gallery to see the Annie Swynnerton exhibition, which is highly recommended.