Fencegate and Redcroft, Rochdale Road, Middleton

Fencegate (right) and Redcroft (left) 2001
Image generously donated by Bob Pedley

These two semi-detached houses sit beside Rochdale Road in Middleton. They are of brick construction but on the front the top half is rendered. Looking at the houses from Rochdale Road, Redcroft is to the left and Fencegate is to the right.  (Note:  it was widely believed that these two houses were built in 1895 but Bob Pedly says that deeds for his house indicates that it was built in 1891)

Image generously donated by "Pilkington's Lancastrian Pottery Society"

Unlike typical semis, Wood's design is asymmetrical. Redcroft (closest to you in the photograph above) has a wide gable across its front, whilst Fencegate has a bay that rises above the roof line and takes the eye up to a dormer window in the attic. The asymmetry is accommodated by the fact that Fencegate's entrance is on Rochdale Road and Redcroft's is on Cleworth Road. Redcroft has a rustic looking porch which is somewhat reminiscent of the shelter he designed for the market place in Middleton.

Redcroft was Wood's home until about 1916. Wood lavished his full attention on the decoration of the living room in his house creating a painted frieze and designing a series of gesso panels, each containing the figure of a muse, which he included in the design of the surround of his living room fireplace. Both houses had usable attic spaces and Wood made his into a studio which was connected to the hall by means of a speaking tube.

Images generously donated by "Pilkington's Lancastrian Pottery Society"

During the 1980s Fencegate became vacant. In the years that followed the Middleton newspaper wrote a number of articles describing it as "Bleak House' and the "House of Horrors" The newspaper claimed that building had become the haunt of vandals, glue sniffers and the homeless. In fact, during the 1990s, while the front of the house remained boarded-up, an extensive rebuilding of the structure was going on, from the ground up. The house was being totally re-built with a back wing, rear wall, gable and frontage constructed to modern standards.

The beautiful image below is shown here with the permission of Andy Marshall of fotofacade.com

Follow the link below to read more about the reconstruction
Rebuilding Fencegate