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).

Brass Band in the Park This Sunday 12th August 2-4pm

This Sunday, 12th August, between 2-4pm there will be a free brass band concert at Longford Park.
Stretford Brass Band will be performing at the Rose Garden and refreshments will be available.
Bring a picnic and hope for sunshine!

Manchester Marathon Sunday 29th April 2012

After a 10 year absence the Greater Manchester Marathon in Trafford brings the ultimate running challenge back to Manchester. On the 29th April 2012 thousands of runners will take to the streets to achieve their personal dream.

The 26 mile 385 yard course will take in some key landmarks and beautiful countryside around the borough of Trafford.The course is one of the flattest in the world, so is great for anyone looking to do their first marathon, or for those looking to set a new personal best time.

The start and finish of the Greater Manchester Marathon will be at Longford Park and over 8000 people are expected to compete ( Directions to Longford Park). The race commences at 9am.

Longford Park - Race start and first mile including Lancashire Cricket Club and MUFC’s Old Trafford stadia.

Media City UK - Miles 2 - Imperial War Museum, New Coronation St set (still to be built)

Stretford - Miles 4 - 5 Kingsway, Chester Road

Sale - Miles 6.3 Sale Town Centre

Brooklands - mile 8

Altrincham - mile 11 - 12 Altrincham Town centre

Dunham Massey - mile 15

Partington Sports Village - mile 19

Carrington- mile 21

Urmston- mile 23

Stretford - mile 25 - 26 final stretch along Kingsway, Edge Lane and Longford Park finish

If you would like to know more than visit http://www.greatermanchestermarathon.com

Firswood Community Centre Contact Details

The Firswood Community Centre, near the Quadrant entrance, hosts many activities including:-

  • Children’s Drama Group-Mon 5PM to 7.30PM
  • Hula Hoop Lessons for Adults-Mon7.45PM onwards
  • Rainbows/Brownie/Guides/Rangers –Clubs for girls-Tues PM
  • Mother and Toddler Group-Wed 9AM to 12 noon
  • Tai Chi-Wed 7PM
  • Sugar craft Thurs-AM
  • Indoor Bootcamp Class Thurs evenings 7pm - 7.45pm
  • Home Education Support Group-Fri 9AM to 3.30PM
  • Firswood Leisure Art Group- painting group for adults-Fri 1-4PM
  • Longford Community Choir sessions Friday evenings from 12th Sept. 6 - 8pm. Call Janice on 0161 864 1996
  • Dance Classes for children age 3+ to young adult. Ballet/disco and cheerleading-Sat
  • Stretford Amateur Football Club meets on adjacent fields. Sat/Sun mornings

For further details concerning all activities contact the Community Centre Manager Mary Wood on 0161 879 4460. The Centre is also available for hire for Children’s parties and Community/Voluntary/Craft Group Meetings/Events

Stretford Pageant 2010 - Rose Queen Carnival June 26th

Stretford Pageant is an annual Rose Queen Carnival and takes place on the last weekend in June, Saturday the 26th.

At this year’s Stretford Pageant there will be a procession of decorated floats through the streets of Stretford, collecting money for local charities and ending at Longford Park, where the Rose Queen is crowned. Various other entertainments are provided in the park on the day of the Stretford Pageant, such as a fun fair, many stalls and a car boot sale.

If you need more information on Stretford Pageant or can help out then please contact Victoria Mcleod on 0161 748 2300

To take part in the Stretford Pageant parade please report to Stretford High School(Greatstone Road, Stretford) where the parade will assembly from 12pm. Stretford Pageant parade leaves Stretford High School at 1.00pm arriving at Longford Park at approximately 2.15pm. The Stretford Pageant parade travels from Stretford High School to Longford Park via Greatstone road, the Quadrant, Kings road and Edge Lane. The crowning of the Rose queen is approx 3pm.

This year there will be a dog show approx 2.45pm and a band and dance arena. Other attractions include an assault course, quad bikes and clowns.

The gates to the park open at 7am and car boot sale commences then (there is no need to pre-book a place, cost £10 for non charities) . In addition, there are many other stalls, attractions as well as the excellent Morley’s funfair that runs from Thursday the 24th June until Monday the 28th June.

Find out more about Morley’s Funfair
Find out more about 100 years of Stretford Pageant

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


Longford Hall and Park, The Rylands, The Queen and Stretford Pageant

Images of old Longford Park

Longford Park’s current layout dates back to 1857 when Longford Hall and its associated grounds were constructed and laid out by John Rylands, the famous cotton merchant and benefactor of many of Stretford’s civic buildings. The landscape was laid out in the style of Chatsworth House and Pevsner in 1969 described Longford Hall ‘ as the only surviving example of the Italianate style of architecture in the Manchester district’ (Source: The Buildings of England South Lancashire).

John Rylands was a shy and humble man but his business acumen created a company that was considered the ‘monarchs of the cotton industry in England’. From modest beginnings he created a company that was worth 0.19 per cent of GNP by 1888, employing 15,000 people in his 17 mills and factories and producing 35 tons of cloth a day. On his death he was crowned the ‘cotton king’ . The fact that his fame subsequently faded somewhat can perhaps be attributed to John Ryland’s strong christian ideals which meant that he had lived modestly out of the public eye and much of his philanthrophy was kept secret.

John Rylands married Enriqueta Tennant in 1875 and they spent 13 years together before John died at Longford Hall in 1888. John Rylands left an estate of £2,574,922 and Enriqueta followed John’s philanthropic disposition by devoting much of her time and money to good causes. As a tribute to her husband Enriqueta Rylands founded the John Rylands Library in 1899. Through the purchase of many remarkable private collections, Enriqueta created a library of international distinction.

Enriqueta died in 1908. Following her funeral, she was cremated and the ashes interred with her husband’s in the nearby Southern Cemetery. Longford Estate was sold to Stretford Urban District Council in 1911 for the nominal amount of £14,500 and books from its extensive library joined the collection at John Rylands Library.

1933 Incorporation of Stretford
Borough Council and

The Rylands estate became a public park. The estate which originally comprised 63 acres including the Hall, outbuildings, greenhouses, five villas and eighteen cottages, was enlarged in 1925 by the addition of a further eighteen acres.

The North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University have permitted the Friends of Longford Park to display a rare film of Longford Park celebrations on Stretford becoming a Borough Council in 1933.

1937 Longford Park and Stretford Pageant
(1 minute 40 seconds, No Sound)

After the the incorporation of Stretford Borough Council, Longford Hall was subsequently extended to improve the accommodation for civic and private functions and Longford Park became a focal point for civic events and activity.

One such activity was the Stretford pageant, which has been continuously hosted in Longford Park every year since 1919. The pageant festivities form an important strand of the history of the park and large crowds came to the May and Rose queen festivities, a source of civic pride and celebrations.

1971 Visit to Longford Park
by the Women’s Insitute

Extensive gardens and conservatories were a feature of the Longford Hall estate under John Rylands:- ‘19 gardeners [were] employed [with] special houses to the rear of the hall. The kitchen garden was doubled from 2 acres in 1862 to 4 in 1867. 14 conservatories with ¾ of an acre under glass in 1862 were doubled to 31 by 1875, with 2 miles of steampipes, served by 6 boilers, a steam engine and a gas-works. Exotic fruit ..were cultivated on a large scale, regularly carrying off prizes. (Farnie 1993: 19-20)’.

After the Longford Hall Estate became a public park, impressive art-deco ornamental gardens and glass houses were made available to the public. The colour flim clip of a visit to Longford Park by the Women’s institute was made available courtesy of the The North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Longford Hall became the home of the council’s permanent art collection. It was utilised as an art gallery and exhibition space as well as being used for civic occasions and social functions.

New stairs were added in front of Longford Hall in preparation for the 1977 Royal Garden Party at Longford Park.

In June 1977 Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, escorted by the Mayor of Trafford and Sir William Downward attended the Royal Garden Party at Longford Park.

More than 4,000 guests attended the Royal Garden party at Longford Park. Many thousands more attended the royal procession that passed through the Stretford town centre.

Longford Hall was demolished in 1995 but the facade of the old hall still stands in the centre of the park, and its foundations are now a walk-through area. The park still contains the historic coach house and stable buildings dating back to when the hall was built.

On Sunday 29th February 2004, over 100 people attended the unveiling of a blue plaque in honour of John Rylands. The year 2008 represented the centenary of the death of Enriqueta Rylands and the blue plaque within Longford Park was updated to reflect more accurately her important contribution.

The Friends of Longford Park seek the preservation of the remaining heritage features within the park as well as the creation of new facilities that will ensure Longford Park remains a valued and popular asset for the community into the future.