Victoria Park, Manchester
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History and description
In 1836, a unique enterprise was undertaken by Richard Lane and Partners, architects. This was to establish a residential area to the east of Wilmslow Road, an "estate" of substantial houses in spacious grounds, where prosperous business and professional families could live. Lane was already noted for his public work in the neo-classical style, for example his town hall building at Chorlton on Medlock. The facade of this building remains on the Manchester Metropolitan University All Saints' Campus and formed part of the Mabel Tylecote Building.
The early years of the 'Victoria Park Company' were of mixed fortune. The original plans to develop land in a slightly different area, did not reach complete fruition, largely due to the fraud which led to the Foss v. Harbottle case. A cul-de-sac of villas was built opposite Whitworth Park, and these were later demolished for the construction of the Royal Infirmary. The fraud, or rather a complex connected series of frauds, related to the original development along Moss Lane East. Drainage techniques of the time were insufficient to support the developers' ambitions, and the large tranche of land they owned was not built on until several decades later. Some of the original villas remain on the southern side of Moss Lane East, between Wilmslow Road and Monton Street. They are attractive and spacious buildings.
The focus of the second, successful phase shifted to the better-quality land now known as Victoria Park. Professional people moved into the large houses, and from the earliest days a wide variety of nationalities was represented, notably a wealthy Prussian and Chinese merchant community. It had its own tollgates, walls and police. By 1850 about 50 houses by various architects had been built. Some villas and the sedate atmosphere of the area began to change at the beginning of the 20th century. After a long period of social disintegration, which began as early as 1920, the area has become more established and is now made up of a mixture of university residences, and rented and private accommodation. In March 1972, Manchester City Council designated a Conservation Area in Victoria Park.
The area has over 20 listed buildings and among its many significant buildings is the notable Grade I listed First Church of Christ, Scientist (now the Edgar Wood Centre) in Daisy Bank Road, the work of the Middleton architect Edgar Wood. Also of significance are Summerville on Daisy Bank Road; Hirstwood by Edward Salomons; Alfred Waterhouse's Xaverian College; and St Chrysostom's Church, the Anglican parish church designed by George T Redmayne at the corner of Oxford Place and Anson Road. St Chrysostom's Church backs onto the University of Manchester's oldest hall of residence, Dalton-Ellis Hall. Redmayne was the architect of the original Dalton Hall.
Victoria Park Campus of the university comprises several halls of residence. Among these are St Anselm Hall with Canterbury Court and Pankhurst Court, Dalton-Ellis Hall, Hulme Hall (including Burkhardt House), St Gabriel's Hall and Opal Gardens Hall. St Anselm Hall is the only all-male hall left in the United Kingdom.
A church was included in the line drawings issued by Lane in 1836. The building was started in the 1840s but was abandoned because the Victoria Park Company went bankrupt. Victoria Park was from 1850 included in the parish of St James, Birch, until 1878, when the new parish of St John Chrysostom was created from parts of the parish of St James and other parishes.
Prominent former residents include the musician Charles Hallé, the artists Ford Madox Brown and Elias Bancroft, the famous suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and the Pankhurst family, the physicist Sir Arthur Schuster, the architect Edward Salomons, the Norwegian novelist Martin Solibakke, the political activist Richard Cobden, the novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, the woman of letters Marie Nordlinger (1876–1961) and Sir Gerald Bernard Kaufman, Labour MP for the Manchester Gorton constituency from 1983 until 2017.
The singer-songwriter, performance artist and occultist Genesis P-Orridge – front vocalist for Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV – was born in Victoria Park on 22 February 1950, although soon moved to Essex where his father had gained a new job.
- Victoria Park Conservation Area History, Manchester City Council, retrieved 18 October 2012
- Victoria Park: a brief historical guide; by Victoria Park Local History Group at St Chrysostom's Church
- Ford, Simon (1999). Wreckers of Civilisation: The Story of COUM Transmissions & Throbbing Gristle. Black Dog Publishing. p. 1.4. ISBN 978-1-901033-60-1.
- Cronin, Jill & Rhodes, Frank (2006) Rusholme and Victoria Park. Stroud: Tempus ISBN 0-7524-4198-1
- [Leech, E. Bosdin] (1937) A Short Account of the Victoria Park, Manchester. Manchester: Victoria Park Committee, in commemoration of the centenary of the opening of the park on 31 July 1837
- Spiers, Maurice (1976) Victoria Park, Manchester: a nineteenth-century suburb in its social and administrative context. (Remains ... 3rd series; vol. 23.) Manchester: Manchester University Press for the Chetham Society ISBN 0-7190-1333-X
- Spiers, Maurice (1961) Victoria Park, Manchester: a study of its administration and its relations with local government, 1836–1954. Thesis (M.A.) - University of Manchester
- St Chrysostom's Church
- Manchester City Council: Victoria Park Conservation Area
- Rusholme & Victoria Park Archive; Bruce Anderson