Detached building with central clock tower
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Stretford Public Hall was built in 1878 by John RylandsJohn Rylands (7 February 1801 – 11 December 1888) was an English entrepreneur and philanthropist. He was the owner of the largest textile manufacturing concern in the United Kingdom, and Manchester’s first multi-millionaire. .[1] It was designed by N. Lofthouse and is on the western side of the A56 Chester Road, opposite the Longford CinemaLongford Cinema, opposite Stretford Mall on the eastern side of the A56 Chester Road, is perhaps the most visually striking building in the town. . Stretford’s first public lending library was established in the building in 1883.[2] On the death of Rylands 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.[1]

Public baths were built to the rear of the building, accessed via Cyprus Street. In 1940 the new Stretford Library was opened on King Street, and the public hall was rendered surplus. The building re-opened in March 1949 as the Stretford Civic Theatre, with a well-equipped stage for the use of local groups. After the Stretford Leisure Centre opened in 1977 –  now Stretford Sports Village – the Cyprus Street Baths wing fell into disuse, and was demolished. The remainder of the building began to fall into disrepair, despite being designated a Grade II listed structure in 1987,[3] until Trafford Council 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.

In 2014 Trafford Council announced that they planned to dispose of the building, and the following year the Friends of Stretford Public Hall secured the freehold. Their aim is to return it to being a hub at the heart of the local community.[4]

Citations



Bibliography


Friends of Stretford Public Hall. (n.d.). About us. Retrieved from https://www.stretfordpublichall.org.uk/about_us
Historic England. (n.d.). Civic Theatre, Stretford. Retrieved from https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1067873
Masterson, V., & Cliff, K. (2002). Stretford: An Illustrated History. The Breedon Books Publishing Company.