Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Manor House "K"

 Manor "K" is the only remaining genuine Adams designed building in the North West of England. We were lucky enough to gain access to this fantastic building when the caretaker opened up for us one extremely cold January morning. (Thanks to an Urbexing friend of mine!)
Built in 1704 and then restored by renowned architect, Robert Adam in 1772 in the classical style. The building had a series of owners, including the Ashton family, Judge Jeffries and Sir Frederick Leyland. In 1902, Captain McGuffie bought the house and turned it into a hydro hotel. During this time, many famous music hall stars lodged at the hotel. The caretaker (who had previously lived in the house in the 1980s) showed us photographs from this era.


In 1948 the Sisters of Notre Dame used the building as a convent and school, until 1970. It then fell into disrepair and was scheduled for demolition. In 1980 our caretaker friend bought the house. He had many tales to tell us about the building and it obviously meant a lot to him. The above photo shows the entrance hall. It must have been a great welcome to the building when the log fire was blazing in its heyday. On our visit it was so cold that you could see your own breath!
On into the lobby, complete with piano and red telephone box. On our visit we were not the only photographers present. It seems that a photo-shoot was taking place. The chief photographer was quite a rude man who greeted us with an, "Oh my God!" when we were in the room that he wanted to shoot in. He then proceeded to tell us that he had driven 6 hours to get to the location and was on a tight schedule and that he needed to shoot in that room NOW! I think he heard me mutter a not so complimentary retort at him and appeared to be much more polite and contrite after that!


Our caretaker friend sold the building to Jim Murray who used it for private functions and weddings. He also had plans to develop the building into retirement flats but planning permission was never granted.

I think that the staircase was one of the best parts of the house. Despite the house needing extensive renovation, this part of the building was simply stunning, with natural light flowing in through a huge leaded window.


                             Looking up from the ground floor lobby.

Looking down from the first floor landing.

                                                              The beautiful window.

On the fist floor landing.
This is where we start to see the need for the £3million renovation. The original features have been subjected to unsympathetic conversion work over the years.

                                  However, the ceiling rose still remains and is quite splendid.

The door hangs off and the décor is a little outdated.
A view from one of the first floor rooms.

 Around each corner there were all sorts of interesting features.
Up onto the third floor, which is in the most need of some TLC. It appears that many of these rooms were used by the Freemasons. Some were small offices.
One was a function room, complete with a dusty organ.
I really liked the "green room", although it was very bare and needed a lick of paint and the floorboards re-sanding. I guess all that green was quite peaceful.

                  And there were some nice little touches, like this wall feature.

Back downstairs, after a chat with the caretaker. We went through a 70s style bar into the kitchen. It definitely needed a bit of Mr.Muscle!


Just off the entrance hall was a pitch black room which we had to light up with head torches. It was octagonal, blue and contained four doors like the one below. (Closets) They reminded me very much of Wedgwood.

But the best feature was the ceiling rose. Wow!

Lastly, on the ground floor was a wood panelled room containing paintings of former owners.
 Leading on from this room was a larger room, again wood panelled.  Tables and chairs were set out in a horseshoe formation.
On the ceiling there was an enormous chandelier.
Propped up in one of the rooms was a painting of the hall from possibly the late 18th century or early 19th century.
The caretaker obviously adored this building and was unsure about what the future holds for it.
He is concerned that people have started to break into the building and cause damage to it. There is also quite a lot of water damage from wear and tear that needs addressing. It is sad to see such a fantastic building, rich in history, declining like this.