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