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Longford Park Cafe now open

Longford Park Cafe is now open 9.30am during the week and 10am on the weekend, closing 5pm every day.

Initially the cafe will serve coffee, cake, sandwiches and ice creams. This will be extended to also offering bread in partnership with Uprising Bakery, warm scones from the oven at 3pm, a full brunch menu at weekends, slow cooks & stews for lunch, homemade kid’s lunch & occasional summer barbecues.

Find out more about Caffeine & Co by visiting their Facebook site

Also, more information on Caffeine & Co and Hulme’s Uprising Bakehouse can be found in a recent Manchester Confidential article.

More about the Edwardian Bungalow:

The best way to preserve older buildings such as the Edwardian Bungalow is to put them back into productive use and this scheme will restore an attractive building in the Longford Park conservation area as well providing the local community with a cafe, community space and centrally located toilets.

The conversion of the building comprises replacing roof coverings, repairs to timbers, new windows and doors, re-pointing and general repairs plus the internal rearrangement of facilities to provide a new cafe with an associated toilet block which can be opened up separately. Externally, a new paved seating area is to be created for use by the cafe.

Alice - Open Air Theatre Saturday 31st August 5pm

You are invited to join Alice at her extraordinary birthday tea party…

Heartbreak’s ingenious and highly energetic adaptation blends both of Lewis Carroll’s volumes (Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass) to produce a fast paced production full of engaging dialogue, inspiring music and magical adventure.

Renowned for their award winning open air theatre, this brand new production is bursting with Heartbreak’s unique combination of interactive and imaginative theatre style that promises to be a captivating treat for all the family.

Tickets are now available online at www.heartbreakproductions.co.uk, or call 0161 864 2414. Tickets are priced at £13/adult; £10/OAP/Student; £8/Child (5-16years); £40/family(2 adults & 2 children).

Chorlton, Didsbury & Whalley Range Community Index

The following article about the Friends of Longford Park was written by Jean Byrne and featured in the November 2008 edition of the Chorlton, Didsbury & Whalley Range Community Index

Longford Park is a green oasis nestling on the border between Chorlton and Stretford. Autumn’s a great time to visit and admirethe abundant display of colourful leaves as they fall from the numerous mature trees.
Many of the magnificent trees in the park were planted in the 1850s when Longford Hall and the surrounding parkland was the home of John Rylands, one of the richest entrepreneurs of the Lancashire Cotton Industry. In the 1870s he owned the largest textile manufacturing business in England and was Manchester’s first multi-millionaire. After his widow’s death in 1908 Stretford Council acquired the hall and park for £14,500.

In Victorian times it was fashionable for the newly rich industrialists such as John Rylands to import exotic plants from all over the world and display them in their gardens. Many of these exotic specimens still remain in the Longford formal gardens. Unusual species include the Chinese ginkgo biloba tree planted adjacent to an Indian bean tree and dwarfed by a nearby Canadian redwood.
Longford Hall was demolished due to structural problems in 1995 and all that remains are the portico and front steps. These look out onto a grassed area known as the Grand Lawn, which is the location of the Stretford Pageant, an event which has been held annually since 1919.

Beyond the once grand lawn is the ha-ha, a sunken wall, which prevented the sheep that used to graze on the lower fields adjacent to Edge Lane from eating the plants in the formal gardens. The only livestock remaining today are geese, rabbits, ducks and Horace the goat that live in the popular pets corner. Colonies of bats also live in the roof spaces of some of the old stable buildings and foxes are regularly seen running across the playing fields at dusk.

Lottery Bid
Over the last 20 years Longford, like most public parks, has suffered from lack of investment and eight years ago the Friends of Longford Park was founded by a group of volunteers to try to improve things and arrange regular community events. Recently over £70,000 was spent by Trafford Council to improve the under 5’s playground, but what seems quite a substantial amount of money doesn’t go very far these days. Hopes for further improvements are dependant on the outcome of a bid for over £2 million recently submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Friends Group have worked in partnership with the Council and organised a petition that was signed by over 1,500 people in support of the bid. The outcome should be known by Spring 2009.
Park Groups
In addition to being a great place to visit for a bike ride, football game or a picnic, the park is also home to a large number of community groups and associations. This includes groups as diverse as Trafford Athletics Club, the Firswood Leisure Art Group, Brownie and Scout Troops, Tai Chi, Touch Rugby and the Towns Women’s Guild. See the Friends web site or contact Trafford Council on 912 2000 for further information.

Jean Byrne
Friends of Longford Park

Chorlton - South Manchester Reporter

South Manchester Reporter columnist, Neil Rolands, on the 24th April 2008 mentioned at length John Rylands and Longford Park.
Excerpts from his column include:-

“Longford Park is a fascinating area, and well worth a stroll…. With the birds and shelters, the original stables and its classic layout, it really is a splendid place that deserves the restoration it seeks, and it seems particularly pertinent that the bid to restore it should occur this year, exactly a century after the death of Enriquetta Augustina Ryland’s third and final wife who he married when he was 74, and who created the John Rylands Library in his memory. “

“Nobody today would suggest that John Rylands was motivated by greed - indeed, he built orphanages, homes for gentlewomen and ministers of slender means, and in Stretford, on the borders of which stood Longford Hall, he built the town hall, baths, library and a coffee house. Yet his efforts made him Manchester’s first multi millionaire and the United Kingdom’s largest textile manufacturer, his businesses boasting a capital of £2 million. ”

The full text of this article can be found here.