Platt Fields Park

The 1820 Ordnance Survey map shows Platt Hall close to the road which ran south from the city centre to Fallowfield and beyond.

However, the Platt Estate had been on that spot for several hundred years by the time that map was published. As far back as the 12th century, the land was owned by the Knights Hospitaller of St. John's of Jerusalem and in 1190 it passed from them to Richard de la More. It was his descendents who, whilst owners of the estate, took the name of Platt.

In the 1600s the estate was sold to Ralphe Worsley and his son Charles, who was Manchester's first Member of parliament.

The Worsley home on the estate was a half timbered structure but in the latter half of the 18th century it was demolished and replaced with the brick and stone structure you can see today. Platt Hall was built in the Palladian style.

Below is an image of the Hall in the 1960s used as a backdrop for the Manchester Police to exhibit some of their vehicle fleet.

(The image above is shown here with the permission of the Greater Manchester Police Museum and Archive.  If you follow this link you can see more of their historic images on their Cathedral Chambers.)

Initially the Worsley family worshiped in the nearby Platt Chapel, now home to the Manchester Amateur Photographic Society.

However, in 1845, Worsley was responsible for commissioning Holy Trinity Anglican Church within the Platt Estate along Platt Lane.  The architect was Edmund Sharp.  Pevsner says of this church that it was, "the second of Sharp's terracotta churches" which were disrespectfully referred to as "pot churches".

The land around the Hall became a public park in 1908. 

The aerial photograph below, shown with the permission of English Heritage, was taken in the 1940s.  Notice that there appear to be two lakes.  Perhaps the second lake was a paddling pond or a pond for sailing model boats.  Notice all the rowing boats on the main lake.

I remember it well as a child and it was a great treat to go to Platt Fields especially to go out on the boating lake in a row boat. 

For a while they had a motor launch that took groups around the lake. 

Boating on the lake was popular as you can see in the postcard image below, generously donated by Graham Todd.

The lake is still an important feature of the park.

In later years a children's petting zoo was built on the far side of the lake.

In 1947 the Hall itself became home to the Gallery of Costume, the first institution in the country to be devoted to the exhibition of a collection of exhibits and research material on the history of clothing. 

The Gallery says of itself that, "The Gallery of Costume houses one of the most important costume collections in Britain, second only to the V&A in London. It contains over 20,000 fashion items from the 17th century to the present day. The gallery continues to collect pieces to enhance the collection."  It reopened in March of 2010 after an extensive redevelopment costing £1million.

Another feature within the park is the Shakespeare Garden.

The Platt Brook flows through the park and Platt Bridge carries Wilmslow Road across it.

Wrapped within two arms of the park is the Manchester High School for Girls.

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