House. c1850. Home of L S Lowry (1887-1976) from 1948-1976. Sandstone with slate roof.
Reason for Listing
The Elms and forecourt wall, 23 Stalybridge Road, Mottram-in-Longdendale, of c1850, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historical interest: as the home and working environment for 28 years of the nationally important artist, L S Lowry, who used the dining room as his studio;
* Architectural interest: as a mid-C19, ashlar-fronted detached house which makes a positive contribution to the streetscape of Mottram-in-Longdendale and reflects the landscape that Lowry so distinctively recorded in his famous paintings.
The Elms was built in Mottram-in-Longdendale in the mid-C19. It was of similar construction to the adjacent terrace of Victoria Place, which is dated 1852. Conveyances named the original landowner as John Tollemarche and noted the creation of an annual rent charge in 1854, suggesting that the Elms and Victoria Place are roughly contemporary. L S Lowry had previously lived at 117 Station Road, Swinton, Salford from 1909 to1947, a red brick end of terrace of c1890 (Grade II). In 1948 he moved to Mottram on a friend's suggestion. He was said to hate the Elms, but it was spacious enough to both set up his studio in the dining room, and to accommodate the collection of china and clocks that he had inherited from his mother; a photograph taken by Denis Thorpe shortly after Lowry's death shows his easel set up in his studio, verifying that he used the dining room as his work room. He lived at the Elms from 1948 until he was taken ill in February 1976, dying several days later in hospital in Glossop. The early years spent in Mottram produced several changes in genre away from the industrial scenes that Lowry is best remembered for. Paintings from this time included Agricultural Fair, Mottram-in-Longdendale (1949), The Pond, Father and Sons, The House on the Moor, Heathcliff's House, and Seascape (all 1950). His work also included controversial representations of human infliction in The Contraption and The Cripples (both 1949). It was during this period that his reputation grew and his work became more widely known outside the Manchester area. He was elected an Associate Member of the Royal Academy (ARA) in 1955 and a Royal Academician (RA) in 1962. In 1965 he received the freedom of the City of Salford, and in 1967 the General Post Office issued a postage stamp reproducing one of his industrial scenes. Lowry died a few months before a retrospective exhibition opened at the Royal Academy, which broke all attendance records for a C20 artist.
The house is shown with a rear outshot to the south, right-hand side on the first edition 1:2500 Cheshire Ordnance Survey map published in 1886. This was subsequently raised to two storeys, and a modern single-story outshot extension has been built on the north, left-hand side
PLAN: of two storeys and attic, with cellar. Two-bay, double-depth plan with entrance hall on left, with staircase rising to attic level, and cellar steps below. Cellar to front half of house.
EXTERIOR: the house, on the west side of Stalybridge Road, is set back from the pavement, with a small forecourt. The front elevation is of coursed ashlar stonework with a plinth, smooth rusticated quoins, plain eaves frieze and moulded cornice, ashlar coping, and two ashlar gable stacks. On the far left is the entrance door, with a panelled and glazed replacement door with rectangular overlight set in an ashlar architrave. The pilasters are inscribed THE / ELMS, with a bell-push set in the right-hand pilaster. The cornice projects to form a door-canopy with a triangular hood over. To the right is a rectangular window with a plain surround, and a circular blue plaque commemorating the house as the residence of L S Lowry. On the first floor there is a narrower window over the doorway, and a similar rectangular window above the ground-floor window. They both have shouldered plain surrounds overlapping the eaves frieze. All the windows have replacement two-pane sash-style casement frames.
The two gable walls are of coursed sandstone blocks. The northern gable wall has two narrow ground-floor windows lighting the rear dining room. They have projecting sills and surrounds with ogee brackets and flat heads, and casement frames. The southern gable has an attic-level window with a projecting sill and stone lintel. The neighbouring property is set back from the Elms and abuts the left-hand side of the gable wall.
INTERIOR: the entrance doorway opens into a lobby with an inserted timber and etched glass screen and inner door. The entrance hall has a moulded cornice and entablature supported on decorative console brackets. The staircase has a heavy, turned newel post, slim square timber balusters, swept handrail, and decorative tread ends on the ground floor. There are a number of four-panel doors throughout the house. The front, ground-floor living room has a moulded cornice and circular light moulding. The fireplace has a stone mantelpiece with a round-headed iron grate which is said to have been originally located in Lowry's bedroom in the front first-floor room. The rear, ground-floor dining room was Lowry's studio. The fireplace has a reproduction timber mantelpiece. The kitchen outshot has an iron range with the nameplate W BROOKE & SONS HYDE. The fireplaces in the two first-floor bedrooms have been blocked and the mantelpieces removed.
SUBSIDIARY ITEMS: the forecourt has a low wall of large ashlar blocks with rounded tops, on which are set reinstated iron railings. An iron-railing gate opens onto a short flagged path with a single step up to the front door.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.