Following the long lock down, Theo (martial arts leader) held his first session on Monday last. Although having to have his classes outside to conform to guide lines, it was good to see the premises in use once again. After this Monday’s outside session, he should be able to move back inside during the last week of the month.
While doing our weekly check of the building this morning, I opened the main church door to check the rain hopper and was surprised to be greeted by a delivery man. On balance he was more surprised than me to see the church door open. The delivery was a copy of a new book, by Julian Treuherz and Peter De Figueiredo, in which they “pull back the curtain to reveal 111 fascinating and eccentric destinations” in and around Manchester. “Edgar Wood in Middleton”, together with a photo of the garden and church feature at number 32 (alphabetic order). I suggest the church and school rooms fall in the fascinating category rather than the eccentric!
In line with the Methodist Church policy I did the weekly buildings check, as the Church is not being used during lock down. Shortly before 11.35, I noticed the sun shining on the font and took a photograph, while watching the shadow I was surprised to see how fast the shadow was moving across the stone and bronze sculpture and took a second image. Note the time between the two images and the distance the shadow travels.
The Middleton Archaeological Society held their monthly meeting in the lecture room at the Edgar Wood Rooms on Thursday. Leon gave an illustrated talk to a full house about the industrial History of Thornham (Middleton). This area is now more associated with green open spaces and recreation (Tangle Hill Park) rather than the previous deep mined coal pits, calico printing and a main centre for the manufacture of fustian.
The Italian evening was a well attended, convivial and informative, thanks to Anthony Dolan who gave a presentation showing examples of Edgar Woods paintings in the ownership of collectors in Italy. Thank you also to members of the Society, who provided refreshments, Italian of course. We had no idea of the range and quantity of the work that EW embarked upon in his retirement to Porto Maurizio , on the Italian Riviera in 1926.
MANCENT: The Manchester Continuing Education Network, started a ten week course in the EW Rooms this week, led by course tutor Dr. Robert Callow. The title of the course ‘The Fly Room ! early history of genetics’.
MANCENT, ‘is a loose network of independent lecturers and students with a firm belief that Continuing Education at a high level should be available to all who want it’. Text taken from the web site mancent.org.uk.
If you are intrigued by the course title, then for more information and details look on the web site about the Spring (now started) and Autumn courses.
In 2015 the Society in co-operation with the neighbouring property owner had several large trees felled, see image left before felling. The trees were removed to prevent the persistent damp ingress owing to the branches and leaves clogging up the boxed valley gutters and hoppers.
Five years on, numerous multi-stemmed saplings had regenerated, with growths up to 75mm in diameter. Without the action of the volunteers, who stated they had ‘enjoyed’ the morning, we would very soon be back to the 2015 situation with blocked gutters. Thank you to the four plus the photographer.
Having received a grant from English Heritage (Listed Places of Worship Scheme, Taylor Pilot Review) work has commenced to remove the vegetation from the masonry at the top of the buttresses on both the north and south elevations. The work will prevent further damp ingress which has been clearly visible on the inside of the nave for several years. Although dry for the last few days it is rather exposed 40 feet up on the scaffold platform.
On Wednesday 13th Nov. the Crompton and Royton Rotary hosted a lunch and invited recipients of their annual disbursements of money to different charities including the GMBPT. Christine (second right) EW committee member, attended in her capacity as a Trustee of the GMBPT and gave a brief resume of the restoration and the development of The Long Street Methodist Church and Rooms ( now known as the Edgar Wood Rooms). Other charities receiving donations were Springhill Hospice, Oldham Community Radio, the Christie at Oldham and several other worthy causes.
Thank you to the Crompton and Royton Rotary for your work throughout the year and supporting local charities in this way.
The Society concluded a business like meeting on Saturday 26th Oct. in the lecture hall of the Edgar Wood Rooms. This was followed by an enthusiastic and informative talk by the society chairman, David Morris.
David showed how the unique design of the First Church of Christ Scientist was developed over a series of phases and set-backs so that the final building looked nothing like the original sketches. The research and the putting together of the presentation will have taken dedication and many hours of work.
ThatsTV (Manchester’s local TV on freeview channel 7 or 8) broadcast the news item that the Edgar Wood Rooms, formally the Long St. Methodist Church School rooms, have been removed from the Historic England ‘Heritage at Risk Register’. This is great news!
The Arts & Crafts Church on the opposite side of the garden is still at risk, however. So the work continues!
Pictured is Peter Barlow from English Heritage being interviewed.
HODs finished on Sunday and on Monday morning and Tuesday it was the turn of two year 2 class groups from Elmwood Junior school to visit. They were being street detectives (looking at building styles) and learning about one of Middleton’s important people, Edgar Wood.
This was followed on Thursday when we hosted Middleton Archaeological Society and their guest speaker, Professor Robert Poole, speaking on Peterloo 1819-2019. An enlightening and informative lecture not to be missed.
Now the dark nights are drawing in it is necessary to get outside illumination installed and thanks go to Justin for giving up his day off work to fit a corner light, a ‘busman’s holiday’ for Justin, who worked through the continual rain on Friday.
Heritage Open days got off to a slow start on Friday morning, but picked up in the afternoon and today. Visitors from Australia were welcome (only travelled from Manchester) where they are working for a few years, to see how we Poms do things before returning home. If architecture isn’t your thing then the garden was alive, here are two insects to identify (not their generic names). If you have not visited , you have still time to do so, tomorrow 1.00 – 4.00pm and next Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Also note a date in your diary, on Thursday 26 September at 7.30pm a talk by Robert Poole on Peterloo, will take place in the hall of the EdgarWood Rooms. This is a Middleton Archaeological Society event and cost £3 for none members.