Stretford and the Rylands Legacy

John Rylands was the first native Lancastrian to become a self made textile millionaire and reigned supreme in Manchester as ’Cotton King’. He moved to Longford Hall in 1857 and used his wealth to provide the people of his adopted home town of Stretford with a town hall, a public baths, a church, homes for elderly women and a coffee house. Some of these buildings still stand today.

Stretford Public Hall was built in 1878 by  John Rylands. It was designed by N. Lofthouse and is located on the western side of the A56 Chester Road.  Stretford’s first public lending library was established in the building in 1883. At John Ryland’s death in 1888, his widow placed the building at the disposal of the local authority for a nominal rent, and on her own death in 1908, the building was bought by Stretford Council for £5,000.

The building found a later role as Stretford Civic Theatre, with a well equipped stage for the use of local groups. Over time  the building fell into disrepair, despite being designated a Grade II listed structure in 1987.  Trafford Council later refurbished and converted the hall to serve as council offices in the mid-1990s. It was re-opened in 1997, once again named Stretford Public Hall.

John Rylands took a leading role in the erection of the Union Church for Congregregationalists and in 1867 laid the foundation stone of the Union Church on Edge lane in Stretford. The first service took place the following year.The Union Church has now been converted for use by St Vincent’s Housing Association(SVHA) and has been renamed Rylands Hall.

Within Longford Park can be found several properties built as part of the original Longford Hall Estate. They are now all privately owned.

The facade of the original Longford Hall also remains along with the original coach house and stable buildings.

Find out more about Longford Hall and Park