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Middleton’s beauty captured on unique film

Press release   •   Aug 06, 2014 14:14 BST

A Middleton born architectural photographer has created a film to vividly capture the beauty of his hometown and encourage people to see it in a way it’s never been seen before.

Andy Marshall has worked all over the world and picked up three industry awards and has also been named one of the most influential commentators on the built environment on twitter.

But the stunning architecture of Middleton has always drawn him back to his roots and now he’s joined forces with the Edgar Wood and Middleton Townscape Heritage Initiative, which has benefitted from a £2m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to put Middleton’s treasures on film and encourage visitors and residents to fall in love with the town.

The film, Middleton Symphonia, which will be launched to the public on 8 August, features beautiful montages of old and new Middleton to show people what the town’s heritage is now and what it will be in the future and that everyone has a stake in it, both young and old.

Andy captured the Golden Cluster of heritage buildings in the town, including the Medieval St Leonard’s Church with shots capturing the sun rising over its burial ground.

Other Golden Cluster buildings featured include Long Street Methodist Church, a Grade II* masterpiece by Middleton’s eminent son, the architect Edgar Wood (1860-1935). It is a rare example of a church created in the Arts and Crafts style, which celebrated ancient handicrafts alongside Wood’s pioneering Art Nouveau and Early Modernist styles.

Viewers can also see the old Hopwood Hall, which is on the grounds of Hopwood Hall College. The college is hoping to restore the building, which was originally built in the Medieval period before Georgian and Victorian features were added over time.

Fast forward to the modern day and the distinctive buildings which will form part of Middleton’s heritage in years to come are also captured, with shots of Middleton Arena, the Hopwood Hall Chapel and All Saints and Martyrs Church.

Andy said: “I remember growing up in Middleton seeing the mills and factories and the old churches were the antithesis of this urban landscape. I travel a lot for work and the more I see, the more it reminds me of what a special little place Middleton is. The character and quality of the buildings is really significant and I wanted to convey that. I wanted to show the beauty of the area through timelapse and I’ve showed the more horrible histories side with the inclusion of the gargoyles in the old Hopwood old Hall to appeal to a younger audience. The film really tells a story because we show Hopwood Old Hall in a state of decay and then the restoration of the Sam Bamford monument which is brought back to its former glory.”

The film will be premiered online on Friday 8 August in time for Golden Cluster month in September, which will see the Golden Cluster of buildings depicted on the film extend their opening hours and offer tours to members of the public. Golden cluster leaflets containing full details can be picked up from libraries across the borough and the Tourist Information Centre at Touchstones Rochdale.

The film was made as part of the Edgar Wood  and Middleton Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) which sees Rochdale Council work with the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to regenerate and celebrate Middleton’s outstanding collection of heritage buildings.

Councillor Daalat Ali, Cabinet Member for Culture and Tourism at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “This film is a unique and creative take on Middleton’s treasures and shows the town in a totally new way which will really make people think. I’d encourage everyone to view the film and discover Middleton for themselves this September.“

The film will be available for the public to view at from Friday 8 August.

To find out more about the THI project and upcoming events visit: or follow @edgar_wood

Notes to Editors

The media can access the film ahead of the public launch by visiting and entering the password: middleton

The media are welcome to use short clips from the film to promote the upcoming public launch.

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported over 33,000 projects, allocating £4.9billion across the UK. Website:

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