Sports, leisure and the Arts Rushford Park Conservation Area

Rushford Park and its buildings today

The older houses in Rushford Park are mainly substantial family residences which are either detached, semi-detached or in terraces of three or more. The generous tree-planting is still much in evidence and creates the semi-rural character of the area.

Hawthorn Cottage, built around 1820, is a typical two-storey asymmetrical Georgian house with a canted or angled bay on the left. The finish is stucco, and the corners are emphasised by large quoins. The window heads are splayed and the cills project beyond the face of the wall.

The upper floor window cills are extended to form a string course, which expresses a clear distinction between the floors. The window frames are 20th century replacements of the original timber vertical sliding sashes, and now contain top-hung opening lights. Over the front door is a semi-circular fanlight surrounded by a projecting hood mould with decoration.

The later houses display similar details in varying degrees, but most are built in red brick. Vertical sliding sash windows, with or without a single, narrow, vertical glazing bar, are typically Victorian.

These may be seen on houses in Rushford Avenue, Park Avenue and in Montrose Crescent, where the upper floor windows have a projecting blue brick hood mould above the voussoirs, or arches, over the windows. At No. 4, an older house on the end of the terrace, this mould is absent, as is most of the decoration. The voussoirs are built of carefully tapered bricks called gauged brickwork.

The houses on Limefield Terrace are in groups of three with the centre one set back. The remaining original windows are vertical sashes with single glazing bars. The quoins and the voussoirs over the doors, which are pointed arches, are in buff brick, contrasting with the orange-red Manchester brick. Perhaps the most striking feature is the fretted barge boards; unfortunately some of these are missing.

Edwardian houses centred on Sylvandale Avenue and Berkeley Avenue are closer together than the Victorian houses on Rushford and Park Avenues. The sashes in their windows are of dissimilar sizes, with the smaller and generally subdivided one at the top, and a large 'uninterrupted view' window below. They have 2-storey canted bays roofed over with half-timbered gables.

The panels on the bays between ground floor and first floor windows are decorated by rectangular outlines of moulded brickwork. Such moulded bricks also form string courses at first floor window cill and head heights.

The Levenshulme Catholic Club in Rushford Park, unusual in being non-residential, is the most decorated building in the conservation area, as seen in the bay windows and entrance detail.

The window mullions, which have 'candy-bar twist' and acanthus leaf capitals, support moulded semi-circular arches on bays topped by dentilled cornices. The painted brickwork of the remainder of the building is bland by comparison with these elaborate terracotta details.

The majority of garden frontages are marked by stone or brick walls with hedges behind, but some simply have hedges alone. Central Avenue is unique in having grass verges with street trees, which greatly contribute to the character of the area. Also on Central Avenue is a group of nine original Victorian cast-iron bollards, to keep vehicular traffic off the footpath leading under the railway embankment.

There is a further group of three similar bollards performing the same function at the end of Park Grove. A few examples of ironwork are evident in Rushford Park, but in general wrought-iron gates have not survived the test of time.

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