Thursday, 17 November 2016

From Lauriston House to the home of Chorlton Liberals and now the Lauriston Club

I am looking at Peter’s painting of the Lauriston Club*  and I rather think it is as close as we will get to what it originally looked liked when it was built in 1885.  

Of course back then it had chimneys and the front of the house was full of well grown shrubs but essentially what you see is what you would have got back then.

It was a good example of the sort of place being built for the well off.  You entered through that “massive stone Portico and Vestibule with outer solid doors, tiled floor and inner stained glass doors.  The walls of the Hall have a diado of Lincrusta and the floor is entirely laid with Linoleum, with brass cap to step.  There is also a pendant coloured glass Hall Lamp.  The Hall is 25 feet 3 inches long, exclusive of the vestibule and is 9 feet wide.”**

On the ground floor were three largish rooms each with a marble mantelpiece, gas lighting and Venetian blinds at the windows.  The kitchen was deemed to be “capital” and the house was “cellared throughout with cemented floors and was well lit.”

Upstairs there were four more rooms as well as a bathroom which all led off from landing.  At the end of which was a “small compartment with coloured glazed door opening out on to the top of the stone portico.”

Now there is some more research to do on the early years of the house, but by 1891 it was occupied by Henry C Lloyd who described himself as a merchant, was a widower and lived with his daughter, a housekeeper and domestic servant.  I am not sure if he owned the place and will only find that out after digging around in the rate books but ten years later he was living at The Hall, Somerford Booths.

He his daughter and son were cared for by an army of seven servants, including a house keeper, footman, cook, butler, two housemaids and a kitchen maid.  The house was surrounded by farms and the area then and now was open countryside.

Back in Chorlton Lauriston House had been sold to the Liberals as their new club.  It is a story I have already told and suffice to say that despite grand hopes on behalf of its owners it slowly declined as did the fortunes of the Liberals and by the 1980s was in a sorry state which was made worse by a fire which partially destroyed the roof and gutted the inside.

It is an all too familiar story and one that might have ended with its demolition but it was saved, became the Lauriston Club and from the outside looks a little like its former self.

So we are almost full circle, looking again at the old house.  Little of the interior remains, although the name is still there on the stone pillar at the entrance to the front garden.   But back in 1897 the road was still unpaved and the place was still lit by gas.

*Lauriston Club, Manchester Road
**from the report of Mr Arthur E. Piggott on the house known as Lauriston, May 13th 1897.

Pictures; painting © Peter Topping 2012,  web:
facebook: and photographs from the Lloyd collection

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