Sports, leisure and the Arts Gore Brook Valley Conservation area

Gore Brook Valley and its buildings today

The character of the area is a reflection of the changes in activity over the last 200 years. From a rural settlement to a centre of industrial activity in the 19th century, the area is now reverting back to its rural origins, but with an increased amount of housing.

Brookfield Unitarian Church, the largest and most significant of the buildings in Gore Brook Valley, is a Victorian church built in 1870 in the Early English style. It is constructed of yellow sandstone originally with a steeply pitched slate roof. Fronting Hyde Road is a tall steeple with a slender spire and paired belfry windows. It was endowed by Richard Peacock, an engineer who became Gorton's first member of parliament.

Immediately to the west of the church is the Peacock mausoleum, built to commemorate Joseph Peacock, the younger son of Richard Peacock, who died in 1875 aged 35. It is a richly decorated construction of white stone, carved in the French Gothic style.

The nearby Sunday School, like the church, is of yellow sandstone and originally built with a slate roof, but it is now sadly in a state of considerable dereliction. It is dated 1899 and is also built in Gothic style with large mullioned and transomed windows. The gables are topped with finials and there is a two-stage bell turret at the centre of the ridge. These buildings were designed by Thomas Worthington and their collective importance and setting complement each other.

The lodge in the churchyard completes the group of buildings around Brookfield Church. Near it is a stone mounting block dated 1703 which is still in nearly new condition.

The other listed buildings in the conservation area are about a century older than the group around the church. On Far Lane, near its junction with Ryder Brow, is a small cluster of cottages. The row comprising nos.46 to 50 is dated 1782, as indicated on a recessed panel over the centre doorway.

These cottages are of red and yellow brick with blue slate roof and altered doors and windows.

In the north of the conservation area, nos. 60 to 66 High Bank were originally three properties - a house with two cottages in a single terrace, for the butler and coachman. The house has been divided into two cottages - nos. 64 and 66. All the doors and windows have been replaced, although some of their stone cills are original.

Spring Bank Farmhouse has been much altered over the years. Farm buildings on the site once occupied a much larger area and the original thatched roofs have been replaced by tiles on the house and stone flags on the former farm building.

A former tannery was once located at the foot of Tan Yard Brow, but it closed down in 1959 and almost nothing remains of it. The row of cottages comprising nos. 56 to 60 Tan Yard Brow were built for the tannery workers. Because the site is sloping, basement windows can be seen at the rear. The ground floor windows have the original segmental arched heads, but all the original doors and windows have been replaced.

St Phillip's Church, built in 1908 to the south of Sunny Brow Park, though not listed, is a red brick building in neo-Romanesque style with typical semi-circular arched window and door openings. Gorton Hall lodge, at the junction of Brookhurst Road, Far Lane and Hengist Street just south of Maiden Bridge, is the last remnant of the Gorton Hall estate. The Hall was the residence of the Peacock family and was situated immediately outside the conservation area, to the west of Old Hall Drive.

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