Rose Hill House and Woods

Rose Hill House

Introduction

Rose Hill is a Grade 11* listed, large two-story villa situated off Bronington Close, Northenden, Manchester, UK. Formally a family mansion, used to accomodate various institutions between 1914 and 1992 and then left to be looted and vandalised, it was eventually restored to its former glory to house nine luxury apartments in 2006.

History

Rose Hill was originally erected as part of a smallholding, probably in the mid to late eighteenth century. In 1832 the seven acre estate was sold by the then owner, a Mr Torkington, to Absalom Watkin for £1,100. when purchased the estate consisted of a small house, a barn, a stable and six fields comprising water meadow and land used for growing wheat and turnips.

Between 1832 and 1834 Rose Hill was remodelled and extended and the grounds laid out. The house still remained small, having only two reception rooms and few bedrooms. Although further alterations and additions had taken place by 1848, most of Absalom Watkin’s energies were directed towards improving the grounds.

After 1861 Rose Hill was altered and extended for Sir Edward and Lady Mary Watkin, the reception rooms along the eastern facade probably dating from this period. The piecemeal development of Rose Hill during the later nineteenth century probably reflects Sir Edward’s rising political and business fortunes. The last phase of rebuilding, comprising the creation of the present entrance facade, hall and stair, dates stylistically to the 1890s, perhaps from the period of Sir Edward’s second marriage to Anne Ingram in the early 1890s. Shortly after Sir Edward’s death in 1901 his successor, Sir Alfred Mellor Watkin, sold Rose Hill to a William Joseph Parkyn.

During World War One the house became a convalescent home for wounded soldiers and soon after it was purchased by Manchester Corporation for use as an orphanage and later an assessment centre. In 1992 the grounds were developed for new housing.

In 2006 developers, Morris Homes, scooped top prize as Best Conversion at Your New Homes’ annual UK property awards for their restoration of Rose Hill House – now known as Ashley Grange. Vandalised and looted of many of its original treasures, the developers faced the challenge of creating new homes while meeting council demands to restore the majority of the 19th century manor house authentically. Recreated features included a hand carved oak staircase, stained glass and copper fireplaces. A replica of an original Italian marble fireplace was made in Japan and took six months to complete.

Location

Rose Hill - Side view. Under the ivy in the foreground is the hidden Shar Stone

Rose Hill House is located at 50A, Bronington Close, Northenden, Manchester, United Kingdom.

Postcode: M22 4YG off Longley Lane

 

Rose Hill Woods

 

Bluebells in the woods
Rose Hill woods, blanketed with Bluebells, 2017

History

Rose Hill House originally stood at the highest point of a small wooded park which was laid out c1833 by Absalom Watkin. Watkin also constructed the main drive from Longley Lane at the head of which were two mid nineteenth-century lodge houses of Italianate design.

The main drive terminated in a balustraded viewing platform opposite the entrance to the house which overlooked a tree-filled valley what is now known as Rose Hill Woods.

The Woods have been owned by Manchester City Council since just after WW1 and are open to the public but since the withdrawal of the Mersey Valley Ranger service in 2008 maintenance has been minimal and there are many fallen trees and the paths are overgrown.

manchester.gov.uk/directory_record/89289/rose_hill_woods/category/678/woodlands

The Memorial Stone

The woods are also home to a commemoration stone erected by Sir Edward in honour of his father. It is currently overgrown, neglected and almost inaccessible.

Stone plinth dedicated to Absalom
This stone resisded deep within Rose Hill Woods, hidden from view up until 2017

The Future

One of the two aims of The Friends of Rose Hill is ‘to ensure that Rose Hill Woods survive for public use’.

In order to do this we will soon be hosting regular community clean-up events in the woods (posted on News on this site and our Facebook page) and we are also supporting a bid by ‘Life for a Life’ Memorial Forests who would like to manage the woods. See http://www.lifeforalife.org.uk for more information.

 Manchester’s Parks Strategy

A public consultation on the proposed strategy for the long-term future of Manchester’s parks took place in 2016

The Parks Strategy consultation closed on 31 May 2016.  manchester.gov.uk/consultations.

The consultation gave everyone the chance to have their say on how they would like to see the city’s parks and green spaces develop over the next decade.

The Council’s proposed vision sees them as vital, well-used community assets, with more opportunities for residents to be engaged in how they are run.