Rochdale’s position as a heritage hotspot has been strengthened with the announcement by English Heritage that two more structures in the borough have been handed prestigious Listed status.
The former Deaf Institute, in Church Lane, Rochdale, has been Listed as Grade II while the Middleton War Memorial and Gardens of Remembrance in Manchester Old Road, have been designated Grade II.
The former Deaf Institute is described by English Heritage as an extremely rare example of a purpose built institute for the deaf providing social recreation, worship and training for employment. Their report also highlighted the critical role it played in the rehabilitation of wounded soldiers after the First World War when deaf soldiers were taught how to lip read at the Institute, which was built in 1907.
The Institute was associated with Irene Godsack, who became Lady Irene Ewing. Lady Ewing and her husband, Professor Sir Alexander Ewing, were pioneers in the education of deaf people and ran the department of audiology and education at the University of Manchester until the mid 1960s.
English Heritage, who announced the new listings in their annual Designation Year Book, also praised the building’s frontage, which is almost entirely intact, and its original features including art nouveau glass and mosaic flooring.
Also joining the 347 other buildings in the borough which are currently Listed is the Middleton War Memorial and Garden of Remembrance.
The memorial was unveiled in 1927 to commemorate the 647 men from Middleton who lost their lives in the First World War. After the Second World War, the names of a further 286 local men were added. Decorative iron gates were later added in 1949.
English Heritage describe the memorial and gardens as being ‘a sensitively designed ensemble which successfully creates an attractive and contemplative space; an oasis of calm in which the local population could reflect upon the sacrifice of those who fought for the country’s liberty.’
The new listings were made possible by the work of the Rochdale Cultural Heritage Group (ROCH), a team of volunteers who worked with the council’s heritage team to do the historical research required to put together the application for English Heritage.
Councillor Richard Farnell, Leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “Rochdale is known for its unrivalled heritage offer and it’s great to know that a hugely respected national body like English Heritage is still finding new places of historical interest in a borough which already has so many fascinating places to show off.”
Councillor Alan McCarthy, Lead Member for Armed Forces at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “It is particularly fitting that these places which have played such an important role in both supporting and honouring our armed forces are being celebrated at a national level during this, the World Wear One Centenary year.”
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