First Church of Christ Scientist

The Edgar Wood Society assists the conservation of Edgar Wood buildings wherever it can and, over the years, has met many owners. This is the wonderful First Church, Manchester, which is to have a new use for events and weddings. The photo shows the owner, Mr. Danny Samuels (centre), Bill Wingrove and P.R. expert Becky Roberts with the famous organ screen in the background.

An Evening Visit by the Middleton Rotarians

The first evening tour in the dark (only outside) took place this evening. Our visitors were the Middleton Rotary and their President, Janice Powell is on the left of tour guide Christine. A general overview was given in the Church, followed by a virtual tour of EW’s buildings in Middleton by the way of a Power Point presentation. Several members had previous ties with the building, one brought his daughter to the Brownies in the early 1980s and another met his wife here in ___ ? a long time ago.

If you would like more information about the Rotary, their web site is

Restored Jubilee Park Staircase is Officially Opened


Edgar Wood’s restored Jubilee Park staircase with its unique curved exedra was officially opened at 12 noon on 13th October, 2017 by the Mayor of Rochdale, Councillor Ian Duckworth. Also in attendance were MP liz McInnes, Mayoress Christine Duckworth, Chairman of the THI board Mr. Malcolm Alan and Councillor June West. The photograph was taken by surveyor, Lynda Jubb, who oversaw the conservation work. It was funded by the Edgar Wood & Middleton THI.

This was, in fact, the very first official opening. The original opening ceremony was cancelled because the benefactor, T. B. Wood, Edgar Wood’s father, was taken seriously ill and it was never rescheduled. At that time, the staircase had a unique art deco drinking fountain at the top and was known as the Jubilee Drinking Fountain.

Click Here for details of the history of the Jubilee Drinking Fountain and its restoration.


Total Focus at Andy’s photographic Workshop

The allotted places were filled for Andy’s ‘How to Photograph Buildings’ workshop. Technical, practical and food were all covered, but not necessarily in that order. Within an hour of finishing I have had emails,  “Hi Geoff, please thank Andy on my behalf, he is inspirational and I learned a great deal”. “It was brilliant and Terry and I enjoyed it very much indeed. The lunch was delicious too”.  If you only considered coming on this event, you missed a real treat. Thank you Andy for giving us the benefit of your knowledge, talent and enthusiasm and Cliff for the featured image of Andy. Continue reading “Total Focus at Andy’s photographic Workshop”

Banner Comes Down on Heritage Open Days

The Heritage Open Days banner was taken down at 5.00pm after another successful three days at the Arts & Crafts Church with in excess of 150 visitors. At 2.00pm a group of 15 weathered the rain to do a walking tour of the Edgar Wood buildings and the Sam Bamford monument. It is good to know that Middleton and its heritage is being recognised in the wider area with visitors making a special journey down from Askham in Furness and many others from outside the Greater Manchester area. One written comment was “Middleton needs to be on the cultural tourist trail” we all agree with this.

A big than you to the volunteers that helped to make the three days so rewarding for the visitors, which is reflected in many comments on the visitors sheet. The next event is on Wed 13 Sept see the following link.

Restoration of the Wesleyan School – Update

The Greater Manchester Building Preservation Trust’s THI grant scheme to restore the Long Street Wesleyan School has been racing along these last few months, headed by architect, Lisa Mcfarlane of Seven Architecture. The finance is almost all in place, the work has been tendered and a contractor chosen. Now the final details are being nailed down.

Continue reading “Restoration of the Wesleyan School – Update”

Grand Day Out – Pownall and Bramall Halls

On August 12th thirty eight people set off on the Edgar Wood Society’s visit to Pownall and Bramhall Halls. It was a wonderful day with so many beautiful objects to admire.

At Pownall the star of the show for many was the outstanding stained glass, probably by Carl Almquist of the Lancaster firm,  Shrigley and Hunt. Pownall also gave us the opportunity to see the only known example of the Century Guild’s work in its original setting. Mackmurdo fireplaces, De Morgan tiles, Art Nouveau door hinges – an absolute feast for the senses! Have a look through the gallery below. Continue reading “Grand Day Out – Pownall and Bramall Halls”

Middleton in Bloom

The inspection for Middleton in Bloom takes place tomorrow, Thursday 20th July. The route takes the inspectors up Long Street and past Long Street Methodist Church and School. The Edgar Wood Society team have been out doing their bit to help and the garden is looking good with the lavender flowering at its peak. The Middleton in Bloom committee have  provided plants and a planter for the front steps, for which we are grateful.  A big thank you  to this group of volunteers for their work in improving the visual environment of the area.

‘Lutyens in Lancashire’ lecture by Richard Fletcher

Richard showing an early photo of Lutyens’ Abbey House

Richard Fletcher delivered this afternoon’s Edgar Wood Society lecture on the subject of Lutyens in Lancashire.

It was a fascinating overview of Lutyens’ designs in the county, including his Grade I listed Rochdale Cenotaph and its cousin in Manchester. Rochdale also has the adjacent Post Office (but with an uncertain attribution) while Manchester has the impressive and definitely Lutyens Midland Bank, both white Portland stone buildings. Liverpool, on the other hand, has the huge crypt of Liverpool Cathedral which is just a fragment of the vast cathedral originally planned as Lutyens’ finest building. But it never came to be, apart for the large scale model now at Liverpool Museum (photo above by Mike Peel ). Richard’s talk brought to the fore many interesting connections and anecdotes about people and buildings and how each linked into the wider historical scene.

Continue reading “‘Lutyens in Lancashire’ lecture by Richard Fletcher”


Members of the Edgar Wood Society were up with the lark to open up at 6.30am for polling. The second time this week that the small lecture room has been in ‘commercial’ use. There is certainly a demand in the area for this size of room with easy access at the rear.

It could be a late supper for the Edgar Wood Society member who clears away the polling booth and locks up after an even longer day for the presiding officers!



Course for Tablets for the Over Fifties!

The first of 8 sessions for getting the best out of your tablet (the computer type) for the young at heart, took place this morning in the small lecture room at the Edgar Wood Centre.

This is a free course run by Pride Media Association of Rochdale and was fully subscribed, the small numbers allowing for individual tutition. The location being chosen, because of the bright aspect of the room and the easy access.

We look forward to further courses at the centre, but book early.

Preparation for Middleton in Bloom

Members of the EWS were busy in the heat of today getting the garden in ship shape for Middleton in Bloom, the judges pass the frontage of the garden. If you can spot the difference in the two lawn areas, before and after, then our efforts have not been wasted.

The Edgar Wood Society at the Victoria Baths

The EWS were on hand in the men’s second class pool (now with floor) at the Heritage and History fair at the Victoria Baths, Hathersage Road. It was a good opportunity to engage with members of the public about EW and to meet other groups promoting their interests. After being closed for 24 years, if you would like a swim in the first class pool on Sunday 14 May then get your ticket by lunch on 14 April. Information is on the Victoria Baths web site.

A Musical Treat

 A good audience gave a standing ovation at the conclusion of today’s performance by the Mendelssohn on Mull Festival Ensemble. The 8 young profession musicians, introduced by Richard Jeffcoat (curator) played items by, Hayden, Shostakovich and of course Mendelssohn’s octet.

This was a cultural treat and we would like to think that this could be the start of a lasting partnership.

Their next performance is in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh on Friday 21st April, why not pay a visit?

Vicky Welcomes the Edgar Wood Society to Briarcourt

Twenty members of the EWS were given a warm welcome to Briarcourt on a sunny afternoon today. The purpose of the visit was to see the progress of the work that Vicky and Duncan are making in restoring this grand house designed and built in 1895 by EW  for his cousin Herbert Higginson Sykes, a wedding present from the Sykes family. This gave EW his first opportunity to build in Huddersfield.

The house is in the style of a Yorkshire Jacobean manor. It is imposing externally, with its fine porch, deep bay windows and multiple gables. Internally, stained glass, decorative plaster work and painted a frieze in the morning room by Middleton artist Frederick Jackson. The frieze has been recently restored and one of the main reasons for the visit. A big thank you to Vicky and Duncan for the privilege of viewing their progress so far and their warm welcome.



Out With The Old, In With the New

The exhibition created and researched by Nick Baker and Richard Fletcher has at last been reproduced on permanent display boards and was arranged today by Ian with the help of Christine and Kirstie. Kirstie by profession is a Graphics Designer and we are grateful for the work she has done in creating the excellent visual impact of the boards. We are fortunate to have Kirstie on the committee team. You must come and have a look, we are open tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday as well as Tuesday and Friday throughout September.