HLF Project 2018

The Friends of Rose Hill win National Lottery support.

The Friends of Rose Hill have received a grant of £27,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting new project ‘The amazing Watkins of Rose Hill House and their Woods’ in Northenden, South Manchester. This project is made possible by money raised by National Lottery players and will focus on the forgotten story of Absalom and Edward Watkin, their house Rose Hill (a historic listed building) and their woods.

The Friends will design a Watkin Walk guide and work with teachers and 120 local schoolchildren to establish the Watkin Story in their curriculum and through drama, art and history workshops. The children of the two schools will jointly produce a ‘Watkin Times’ newspaper.  After an ecological census and training, volunteers will lead tours of the woods, where an 1862 memorial to Absalom will be restored and paths re-established. The Friends will work with the parish church, where the Watkins are buried. A Celebration Day will be held in December 2018.

Absalom publicised the Peterloo Massacre, fought for voting reform and the repeal of the Corn Laws. His son, Edward, an MP and friend of Gladstone, campaigned for the first Manchester parks, dug two miles of a Channel Tunnel in 1880, tried to build an Eiffel Tower in London, advised the Government on the birth of Canada and built the Great Central Railway from Manchester to London. He bought a painting that was ‘lost’ in Rose Hill for a century then sold in New York for £4 million.

Geoff Scargill, the chairman of the Friends of Rose Hill and the Project Manager commented: “We are thrilled to have received such terrific support from National Lottery players through this award. It is going to make sure that the names of two great Manchester people are finally remembered. Our joint work with the head and staff of the two local schools is particularly exciting and means that awareness of an important part of our local heritage will live on in future generations.”

Nathan Lee, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund, North West said “We are delighted to support this project, which, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, will mean that more people will be able to engage with the history of the Watkins’ and Rose Hill House and Woods, and learn about the exciting heritage right on their doorstep”