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Former Independent Labour Club, Middleton, Rochdale

Description: Former Independent Labour Club, Middleton

Grade: II
Date Listed: 2 October 2014
Building ID: 1422300

OS Grid Reference: SD8684006177
OS Grid Coordinates: 386840, 406177
Latitude/Longitude: 53.5521, -2.2001

Locality: Rochdale
County: Rochdale
Postcode: M24 5TU

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Listing Text


Former Independent Labour Party Club. 1911-12. Edgar Wood. Common brick, small Westmorland green slates, concrete dressings and flat roof to porch.

Reason for Listing

The former Independent Labour Party Club of 1911-12 to designs by Edgar Wood, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:* Architect: born in Middleton, Edgar Wood became an architect of considerable national and international renown during his own lifetime, his work characterised by careful detailing and avant-garde innovation; * Historical interest: the club was built for the Middleton branch of the Independent Labour Party, a working-class political party (and a key component of the early Labour Party) which had been in existence for less than twenty years; * Architectural interest: while modest the ILP Club demonstrates the idiosyncratic characteristics of Wood's early-C20 innovative designs.


The Middleton Independent Labour Club was designed by Edgar Wood in 1911 and built in 1912. The Middleton Guardian reported its opening on 27th July 1912 and described the building as containing a spacious hall, large club room and all modern conveniences, being well provided with windows and a complete electric installation, and with a bowling green and gardens. A plan and elevation drawing dated 1910 had previously been published in the American Architectural Review, which showed a grander, two-storey building with a club room, library, ladies' room, two committee rooms and two cloakrooms on the ground floor, and a public hall on the first floor. The Club as built was a simpler, single-storey building. The Independent Labour Party was founded in 1893 following a conference in Bradford chaired by Kier Hardie. In 1900 the ILP joined with trade unions and other socialist groups to form the Labour Representation Committee, which became the Labour Party in 1906. To begin with the ILP provided Labour's grass roots activists and a significant number of its parliamentarians, until the Labour Party introduced its own individual membership in 1918. Though Edgar Wood's background was Liberal, he was sympathetic to Middleton's Independent Labour Party, giving a talk on architecture in 1905 and designing the header for The Herald, the branch's newspaper. The architect Edgar Wood (1860-1935) was born in Middleton and after qualifying in 1885 initially set up a practice in Middleton. He later had practices in Oldham and Manchester, but continued to live in Middleton for fifty-six years and many of his buildings are concentrated in the area. The majority are domestic, both middle-class houses and working-class terraces, with several churches and small commercial buildings. Although his practice flourished, Wood always ran the business on a personal scale, designing, detailing and supervising the work himself. In 1903-5 J Henry Sellers joined Wood in an informal partnership. By 1910 Wood was playing a less active role in the practice, finally retiring in 1923 and moving to Italy where he died in 1935. Wood’s architectural sympathies lay with the progressive movements of the day from the Arts and Crafts Movement (he was a founder of the Northern Art Workers’ Guild in 1896), through Art Nouveau, and finally with his avant-garde designs of the early C20, anticipating the Expressionist architecture of the 1920s and Art Deco of 1930s. Pevsner described him as the most progressive of all Edwardian architects whose designs were at the cutting edge of European contemporary architecture, and he gained a considerable national and international reputation, notably in Germany. The Middleton Independent Labour Club is first shown on the 3rd Epoch, 1:2500 OS Lancashire map published in 1922; the south porch is shown, though the canted bay windows at the south end of east and west elevations are not. This appears to be an oversight as the bays are part of the original design and appear on historic photographs of the building. At this time the bowling green is identified and the building is marked as 'Pavilion'. The original building is also shown on the 4th Epoch 1:10560 OS Lancashire map published in 1932, but by 1955 the north extension had been built. It is not known exactly when this flat-roofed extension was added. At some point in the early 1930s the building passed from the ILP to the Council, who used it as a children's nursery. It may have been at this stage that the extension was built. It is possible that J Henry Sellers designed the extension, but this has not been verified. During the 1960s a second flat-roofed extension was built for the nursery abutting the east side of the building. It continued to be used as a nursery, and more recently as a family centre, until it was closed and sold by the Council in 2012. Prior to being sold the Council undertook re-pointing in lime mortar, repair to the top of the south gable, and replacement of rotten windows and the porch door.


Former Independent Labour Party Club. 1911-12. Edgar Wood. Common brick, small Westmorland green slates, concrete dressings and flat roof to porch.PLAN: a single-storey, rectangular building running north-south of six bays, the southernmost bay on both east and west sides having a large canted bay. At the south end is a small, rectangular, flat-roofed entrance porch. Cornicing suggests the main building was originally divided into two rooms with a room at the south end lit by the two bay windows and a larger hall lit by the five bays beyond. Beneath the south room is a basement. The porch is likely to have contained cloakrooms. EXTERIOR: the building stands on the east side of Milton Street. It is built of mottled common bricks in stretcher bond and is single-storeyed with a double-pitched roof of small, Westmorland green slates and stepped, brick north and south gables which rise above the roofline. The west, roadside elevation is of six bays. The first to fifth bays have tall, round headed windows. They are flanked by very shallow, brick pilasters which rise from a very shallow plinth topped by a row of headers and containing regularly-spaced, square, louvred, ventilation bricks. The pilasters have concrete impost blocks from which round-headed arches formed from a single row of headers spring. The windows have slightly-projecting concrete sills with shallow brick aprons beneath rising from the plinth. The timber window frames have small pane glazing with sunburst glazing to the semi-circular heads. The sixth bay has a wide canted-bay which rises to a concrete-coped parapet above the eaves level of the roof. The angles of the bay are separated by very shallow, brick pilasters which are continued up to the parapet coping. The bay has a large, rectangular window with narrow, rectangular windows in the flanking, angled planes, all sharing a slightly-projecting concrete sill band and a deeper, flush, concrete lintel band. The windows have timber frames with small-pane glazing. Beneath the central window is a wide, rectangular opening at ground-floor level with a metal, louvred grate. The concrete-coped parapet is continued round the south-west corner. The south gable wall has subtlety-projecting, wide pilasters which form a stepped parapet with concrete coping. The central, tallest step has pierced detailing. The brickwork of the small, four-bay, rectangular porch is bonded into the main building and it has a flat roof. The left-hand side is set in from the south-west corner of the main building and flush with the south-east corner. The doorway is in the second bay and is raised with a short flight of concrete-topped steps with plain iron railings. Above the square-headed doorway is a very shallowly-recessed panel. The timber door has two fielded panels with an upper row of three window lights. To either side of the doorway, in bays one and three, are windows with slightly-projecting concrete sills and segmental-arched heads. Bay four has a similar, narrower window. The windows have timber casements of two horizontal lights and a single light. There is a cast-iron drainpipe between the third and fourth bays. Recessed on the west and east elevations are the projecting, canted bay windows. Abutting the east bay is the 1960s single-storey, flat-roofed, brick extension. A single bay contains a doorway reached by a flight of steps, and to its right is a is a projecting block with a flat-roofed w.c. abutting its west side. The ground-floor level of the north gable wall is obscured by the later c1930s extension*. Above is a stepped, concrete-coped parapet which is lower than the south gable parapet. The steps and projections of the parapet differ from those of the south gable. Just above the roof of the extension is a central, semi-circular overlight, which is above the original doorway in the north gable wall. It has sun-burst glazing. The east elevation of the original building is largely obscured by the 1960s, flat-roofed nursery extension*, but above the roofline of the latter are five rectangular windows, now boarded. At the left-hand end the parapet of the bay window is visible, as is the concrete lintel band. Unlike the west bay window this does not run the full width of the bay, but finished to the right of the large, central window. INTERIOR: the porch retains a wide, inner doorway into the main building with a door of three horizontal panels. At present the roof structure is visible at the south end of the main building. It has king post roof trusses with raking struts and bolted iron straps, and a single purlin to each side. The bay windows have rolled steel joists across the openings which the southernmost roof truss is bolted to. The left-hand angled plane of the east bay window contains a doorway which also cuts into the return wall. It leads into the nursery extension corridor, but is likely to be original as there is no evidence for a blocked in window above and the lack of a window in this plane is respected by the treatment of the external concrete lintel band, which stops short. It has a plain, board door with a glazed light. To the left of the doorway is a cupboard with panelled, double doors. On the north side of the cupboard are the basement steps with the top step in line with the position of a partition cross wall (now removed), dividing off the main, five-bay hall. The hall has a simple cornice on its west, north and south sides, now missing from the east side. The window jambs continue down to floor level with recessed panels beneath the windows. The windows on the east side have been altered when the 1960s extension was built. They were truncated with flat tops and the second-bay window has been altered to a doorway. The 1960s extension roof now abuts the exterior wall above the truncated windows and smaller, rectangular windows have been inserted above the roof level. The altered windows have timber frames with small pane glazing. The north end wall has a wide central doorway with a timber architrave and double doors. Above, but detached from the doorway, is the semi-circular overlight. Each side of the doorway is a wide, round-headed niche.EXCLUSIONS*: the c1930s, flat-roofed extension abutting the north gable wall of the original building, and the second, 1960s, flat-roofed extension abutting the east, side elevation of the original building and the earlier extension are excluded from the listing.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
J H G Archer, , Edgar Wood (1860-1935) A Manchester 'Art Nouveau' Architect, (1966)
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Wood, Edgar (1860-1935), architect, accessed from

National Grid Reference: SD8684006177

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.