Edgar Wood Rooms are off the At Risk Register

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.

A Busy Week

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 at Long Street Methodist Church, Middleton M24 5UE

Visit the Arts & Craft’s Church free of charge at  Heritage Open Days!Open on the following days in September…

  • Friday 13th – 10am to 4pm
  • Saturday 14th  – 10am to 4pm, 2pm Guided tour of nearby Edgar Wood buildings
  • Sunday 15th  – 1pm to 4pm, 2pm Guided tour of nearby Edgar Wood buildings
  • Friday 20th – 10am to 4pm
  • Saturday 21st – 10am to 4pm, 2pm Guided tour of the Peterloo Sam Bamford Trail
  • Sunday 15th – 1pm to 4pm, 2pm Guided tour of the Peterloo Sam Bamford Trail

Long Street Methodist Church & School is an Arts & Crafts masterpiece by Manchester architect, Edgar Wood. An indescribable blend of rustic expressionism and Art Nouveau abstraction,  it announced a radical new architecture when built in 1900.

The Peterloo Sam Bamford Trail celebrates this year’s theme ‘People Power‘ to mark the 200th anniversary of the  Peterloo  Massacre.  Led by Sam Bamford expert Dave Lees.

How to get there…

Car – SATNAV – Long Street Methodist Church, Lever Street, Middleton, Manchester. M24 5UE

Access by car from outside the area is via the M60 and M62 which provide main routes from the north, south, east and west. Car parking is at the rear on Lever Street.

Bus – The No. 17 bus between Manchester and Rochdale passes adjacent along Long Street (alight at Jubilee Park/Middleton Library) and Middleton Bus Station is also within walking distance.

Train – The nearest railway station is Mills Hill, a mile and a half east of Middleton centre. It lies on the Caldervale Line between Manchester and Leeds.

Wheelchair Access – Due to substantial changes in levels across the site, wheelchair access is presently limited to around 50% of the interior and not the garden. Disabled toilets are available.

A Tour Group and a Wedding

It was a busy afternoon on Sunday, Sibby (Manchester tour guide and EWS committee member) arrived shortly before the wedding of Emma and Mathew to let her group have a ‘sneaky’ look at the Church and school rooms shortly before the wedding guests started to  arrive. Peggy the dog showed an interest in the garden, but wasn’t for signing up to EWS membership. The garden and encompassing buildings provided a good back drop for the photographs. The weather was kind and the grooms men were in fine form.

A Day out at Lindley

Members of the Edgar Wood Society (Middleton) crossed the border on Saturday for the day and were met by representatives of the EWS, Huddersfield group, who guided us through the back alleys of Lindley via the Methodist Church, Clock Tower, Briacourt and other buildings by EW and those associated with the Sykes family. Thank you to John Rumsby, David Verguson and David Griffiths for their in depth knowledge and giving up their Saturday in making the trip such a success. After coffee in the old Methodist Church we moved through to  EW’s Chancel extension to the ‘new’ Methodist Church. All the crafts you would expect to see are represented, wood, stone and metalwork. Continue reading “A Day out at Lindley”

Not Seen From This Angle Before

Andy Marshall, EWS committee member and “…one of the country’s leading architectural photographers”. (Manchester Evening News) was in the Church the other day taking preliminary shots for the new Edgar Wood webb site, which is in development. To see more of Andy’s work go to www.andymarshall.co/index

Churches Conservation Trust

The Churches Conservation Trust hosted a full day workshop in the hall at the Edgar Wood Rooms today, the title being, “A Stitch in Time”. The central theme being the importance of planned maintenance and the necessity of keeping the water and damp out of  buildings.

On this themed workshop, it was ironic that on entering the hall, Christine looked up through one of the Diocletian windows and noticed damaged roof tiles. Unfortunately no amount of routine maintenance will prevent slates breaking at upper levels and damaging lower roofs!

 

A Busy Few Days

It was a busy weekend at the Arts and Craft Church just gone. Spring is here and the beds want planting, but the soil was badly  compacted by the scaffolding. While some sunned in the sunshine the shade was welcome while doing the hard work!

The Methodist Church area synod was hosted in the hall with 140 delegates from across the region attending. This included  workshop session in various rooms and the garden, but not horticultural!

On Sunday afternoon eighteen members of the Clarice Cliff Society visited, starting with a tour of the EW properties, followed by an introductory talk about EW, the Church and School Rooms followed by a viewing of the DVD ‘A Painted Veil’.  A lot was packed into the afternoon and the sun was shining.

A Busy Morning at the Church and Edgar Wood School Rooms

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:

Dear Christine,
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!
Regards,
Margaret

The Jeffrey Lawton Festival of Music 2019

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.

What’s in a Name?

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.

First Post of 2019

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.

27 November was a Busy Day

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.

IHBC – AGM

The Norh West branch of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) held their AGM in the restored former school rooms of Long Street Methodist Church on Thursday 15th November.  Their program began at 2.15pm with a talk by EWS chairman David Morris, followed by a tour of Edgar Wood buildings in the local area. The AGM started after their return and was followed by food served at 5.30 in the hall, by Jubilee Catering. To conclude the evening the group returned to the lecture room to watch the film ‘A Painted Veil’ telling the story of Edgar Wood. DVDs are available for purchase for £5 plus postage a real bargain. If you are interested in making a purchase, get in contact at : edgarwoodsociety@gmail.com

Preparations for Visit to the Edgar Wood Centre, Manchester

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. 

It’s Never to Young to Learn About Edgar

 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. 

An interesting time at today’s Heritage Open Day

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.

The Scaffolding has Gone

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.