Monday, 9 November 2015

At the Edge on Manchester Road

Now I never tire of that short walk up from Manchester Road to the Edge Theatre.

It’s a short trip but the combination of those bushes and trees make it a welcome retreat from what is increasingly a pretty busy road.

And I have no doubt that was the intention of the Methodists who opened their Sunday school in what is now the Edge in 1885.

It wasn’t their first Sunday school that had been built after a great fund raising effort at the beginning of the 19th century and was lost through dark deeds by the landowner and a developer soon afterwards.

Its successor was and still is a grand building which has been at the heart of the community since its construction and there will be many with fond memories of their time spent there on Sundays along with those who enjoyed the many plays performed in the big hall.

But few I suspect know of its role as a Red Cross hospital during the Great War.

It was a story which had passed out of living memory and there are only a few references that have survived the century.

These include a letter from a group of soldiers thanking the children of St Clements for the present of a specially embroidered pillow and a silver cup inscribed with a dedication of thanks and dated Christmas 1917.

All of which I was reminded of last year when the Edge performed a play based around three local people caught up in the Great War which has led to a community project to extend our knowledge of some of those who lived through that conflict.

So I think it is fitting that Peter decided to paint the old school as part of his "Moment in Time" collection which records the changes in Chorlton.

"It was" he told The Edge "remiss of me having lived in Chorlton for 45 years that I had never been in the building and I decided to offer the painting to display."

Painting; the Edge  © 2015 Peter Topping


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