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© Mr Charles Madders

IoE Number: 458458
Photographer: Mr Charles Madders
Date Photographed: 04 July 2002
Date listed: 04 March 1974
Date of last amendment: 04 March 1974
Grade II*

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MANCHESTERSJ89SEWILMSLOW ROAD, Didsbury698-1/9/683(South side)

MANCHESTER SJ89SE WILMSLOW ROAD, Didsbury 698-1/9/683 (South side) 04/03/74 The Towers (Shirley Institute) GV II* Mansion, now offices. 1868-72, by Thomas Worthington, with carving by Thomas Earp of London, for J.E.Taylor (the then proprietor and editor of the Manchester Guardian); altered internally (and with late C20 additions). Red brick with sandstone dressings and slate roofs. Irregular double-pile plan on east-west axis, with external kitchen attached at north-east corner and gallery at south-west corner. French chateau style. Two storeys with cellars, attics, and tower; an assymetrical 7-bay north front with stone plinth, band between floors, parapet, a slender octagonal turret at the left corner, an octagonal oriel at the right-hand corner, a square 2-stage tower above the entrance in the 5th bay (all these with slate spire roofs with swept eaves and the tower with a corbel table to the cornice), gabled dormers between these, and steeply-pitched hipped roof with various tall chimneys. The doorway has a C13-style porch with buttresses, moulded 2-centred arch with marble shafts, and projected curved balcony parapet with corner tourelles. All fenestration is of cross-window form, with double-chamfered stone surrounds, the dormers have Gothic enrichments including finials, and the oriel to the right has a prominent moulded corbel enriched with carved grotesques, and smaller grotesques at the angles of the cornice. The kitchen, attached at the left end by a short link, has a large mullioned window, and steep hipped roof with louvred penthouse ventilator. The west end, which is stepped and irregular, has (inter alia) a very large mullioned and transomed stair window with stepped sills, mounting round a corner, and at the south-west corner a square single-storey extension (the gallery) with pyramidal skylight roof. The south front, which is in matching style, includes a 2-storey canted bay window at the west end and a bold octagonal turret at the east corner, with features like those of the oriel at the front. Interior: L-shaped division between family and service accommodation, the principal rooms being in the south and west ranges and the services in the north and east; much original decoration in the former, including large entrance hall with screen of granite shafts to massive stone staircase with stained glass windows, coffered ceilings with painted panels here and in the parlour and library, Gothic panelled doors with original foliated brass furnishings; massive stone fireplace in kitchen, servants' stairs at east end. History: probably never occupied by J.E.Taylor, who sold it in 1872 to David Adamson, iron founder and engineer, one of the founders of the Manchester Ship Canal; occupied since 1920 by Shirley Institute (textile research).

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