Report - - Church House, Manchester - November 2013 | High Stuff | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Church House, Manchester - November 2013


Regular User
Church House, Manchester - November 2013

Visited solo

Quite enjoyed this roof. Lots of different levels to it, and some nice views either side over Deansgate and Parsonage Gardens respectively. Funny also watching the pished revellers falling out of the various venues fighting at 3am in the morning.



Church House is located at 90 Deansgate. It is the official business address of the Manchester Diocesan Board of Finance, the Board of Education and the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches.

The Church House Company Ltd was incorporated on 6 August 1908 and moved into Church House, Deansgate on 18 October 1911. The Archbishop of York opened the building at noon, afternoon tea was provided for 800 guests and the celebrations concluded with an organ recital in the newly furnished Houldsworth Hall in the evening.

The first Board of Directors was a roll-call of the ‘movers and shakers’ in the business and commercial life of Lancashire and Manchester – Colonel Clapham, Sir William Holdsworth and Henry A Heywood, who was not only a member of the city’s banking fraternity but also one of Manchester’s greatest benefactors. They had been charged with building a Church House and so provide rooms for the Bishop of Manchester, his Council and Committees and offices for staff. Shops and offices for other businesses were built so ensuring financial stability without any charge on the parishes – even to this day!

A club house with bedrooms was also constructed. In those days, before the establishment of the Diocese of Blackburn, the Bishop of Manchester’s writ ran from the Mersey to way beyond Blackpool! It was a long way to come for an afternoon meeting in Manchester. Bishop Knox was authorised by the Directors to spend a week in London in 1911 (at the Company’s expense) seeking out support for the buying of shares among Members of Parliament and others connected with Manchester to finance the development.

In later years, ownership of shares slipped away from diocesan hands. However, between 1970 and 1990 the Diocesan Board of Finance carefully advanced its holdings and now holds 98% of the shares. In 2002 a training centre was constructed within the building and an extensive programme of up-dating offices was set in hand.

Now, the officers and support staff of the Board of Finance, Education, Ministry and Social Affairs, Church Buildings and Communications are all located within the building. So too, the office and shop of the Mothers’ Union and the office of the Diocesan Registrar. The requirement to provide rooms for the Bishop of Manchester and his diocesan staff remains as it has for 100 years.

Behind Church House, sits Parsonage Gardens, a little-known urban oasis in Manchester...


The first recorded reference to the plot of land now known as Parsonage Gardens was in 1066 when, after the Norman Conquest, William granted tenancies to Albert Greslet, then Baron of Mamecestre. Along with the manor house this land was transferred to the La Warre family in 1309.

Thomas La Warre succeeded as the twelfth baron in 1398 and later became the parson of St Mary's, the parish church.

The church, subsequently rebuilt, is now Manchester Cathedral. La Warre was responsible for elevating it to a collegiate church by procuring a licence in 1421 from King Henry V.

Extensive gardens were needed to cater for its pupils and consequently the area now known as Parsonage Gardens was cultivated to provide food.

In 1547 the college was dissolved. The wardens were provided with a college house in 1578 and in 1635 they were further provided with the two-acre parcel of land known as Parsonage Croft, now called Parsonage Gardens. Kite-shaped in plan, it is easily identified on old maps of Manchester.

During the 18th century the increase in population led to pressure for development, and a new church was built on the site of Parsonage Gardens and consecrated in 1756. This was St. Mary's Church, as building which reflected the cultural elegance and proportions of the period. The earlier Church of St Mary had also been dedicated to St Denys and St George at the same time that it became a collegiate church.

During the Victorian era many of the affluent congregation moved away from the city centre. Despite its architectural merit, the church was demolished in 1891 and Parsonage House, the residence of Thomas La Warre, was demolished in 1897. The site then became Parsonage Gardens, which has changed little up to the present day.

The names of streets in the immediate locality reflected the ownership of the land by the church: Parsonage Lane, St Mary's Parsonage, College Land and St Mary's Street linked the church with Deansgate.

The derivation of the name Deansgate is uncertain but it may suggest either 'way to the Dean', 'way to Denys' or possibly a gate or route used by the Deans of the College.





:Not Worthy


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