Thursday, 15 October 2015

A little bit of the old Assize Courts in a farm house garden in Chorlton

Now I have to confess that this picture of Manchester Assize Courts interests me more for the story behind one of the figures that adorned the roof.

And this is the stone figure which sat in the garden of Park Brow Farm at the bottom of Sandy Lane where it joins St Werburghs Road.

My friend Tony Walker maintained that it came from the old Manchester Assize Courts on Great Ducie Street in Strangeways and looking at pictures of the building the figures do look the same.

It was designed by Alfred Waterhouse and finished in 1864.

Sadly this magnificent building did not last a century and after being hit during the blitz of December 1940 and again in ’41 it was demolished in 1957.

Some of the exterior sculptures were designed by Thomas Woolner who was one of the founding members of the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood, but I rather think our figure was the work of the Irish stonemason firm of O’Shea and Whelan.

Picture; The Assize Courts,   from the series Manchester United Kingdom, marketed by Tuck & Sons, 1903, courtesy of Tuck DB, http://tuckdb.org/ and stone figure from the collection of Tony Walker

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