Sports, leisure and the Arts Blackburn Park Conservation Area

Blackburn Park and its buildings today

Most of the houses in the park remain largely in their original form. The earlier properties are larger than the later ones, with the exception of Cherry Tree Cottage on Barlow Moor Road and the cottage at no. 694 Wilmslow Road. The former, built in 1842, and the latter, built in the late 18th century, are the oldest buildings in the area. No. 694 was modified in the early 19th century to take a shop window on the left side of the door.

In the south-east corner of the conservation area, a small number of buildings have Gothic features. Most notable is the Didsbury Public Library, designed by the then City Architect and built of dull red brick with Portland stone dressings and a green slate roof. It has two wings rising from an octagonal drum, with a battlemented parapet and traceried windows.

Standing close to the library is a limestone war memorial in the form of a cross. It sits on a square pedestal and has four bronze plaques bearing the names of the fallen. Emmanuel Church on Barlow Moor Road is the only building in the conservation area built entirely of stone. It is a small Victorian Gothic-style church with pointed arched windows and a modest, slender spire.

The rectory, built of red brick with stone dressings, has rectangular windows with stone hood moulds, mullions and tracery. Another church, built in the late Gothic manner, is Grosvenor St. Aidan's on Palatine Road, built in 1901. The dark red brick and terracotta walls, flying buttresses and pinnacles contrast strongly with the green slate roof surmounted by a slender spire. Recently restored after fire damage, its lightly traceried windows have some very fine Art Nouveau stained glass by Walter J. Pearce. Some houses have been built in later years, mainly on sites made vacant by demolition, and these for the most part have been in keeping with the character of the conservation area.

A flat-roofed block of flats built of blue brick, on the corner of Elm Road and Parkfield Road South during the 1960s, is not in the spirit of the area. The large block of yellow-brick flats, built in the early 1990s on Palatine Road and replacing several old houses there, is successful in form but insufficient space has been allowed for the generous planting of trees and gardens around it.

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