A Middleton heritage trail leaflet suggests that St Leonards Church is the oldest building in the Manchester diocese, and that this is one of only three churches in the country with a wooden steeple.
This impressive structure is Middleton-born architect Edgar Wood's Exedra, built in 1906 and a link between the parish church and Jubilee Park. Alderman Thomas Broadbent Wood, the architect's father, commissioned his son to build it.
'WHO WORKS NOT FOR HIS FELLOWS STARVES HIS SOUL;
HIS THOUGHTS GROW POOR AND DWINDLE AND HIS HEART
GRUDGES EACH BEAT, AS MISERS DO A DOLE.'
I've retained the original three-line structure. These words are from Rose's Diary (1850) by Nottingham-born poet Henry Septimus Sutton (1825–1901), who moved to Manchester in 1850.
On the corner of Cleworth Road and Rochdale Road:
FENCEGATE AND REDCROFT
FROM 1895 TO 1916
Closer to the centre of Middleton is the Manchester and Salford Bank, built in 1892 and also a Grade II building. There are several other of Wood's works in the town, including the fine but modest gravestone of his friend the artist Frederick William Jackson (1859–1918), who was buried in Middleton New Cemetery. As I wasn't aware of this at the time though, I shall have to seek it out on my next visit to Middleton.
Edgar Wood in Victoria Park