Rose Hill, Northenden

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View of Rose Hill

Rose Hill in Longley Lane, Northenden, Manchester, England, is a 19th-century Victorian villa, most notable as the home of Sir Edward Watkin, "railway king and cross-channel visionary".[1] The house was designated a Grade II* listed building on 11 April 1991.[2]

Sir Edward's father, Absalom Watkin, bought the house in 1832. Absalom Watkin was a wealthy cotton merchant and a diarist, recording life in early Victorian Manchester. Sir Edward extended the house in the late 19th century with "a single storey loggia of the finest ashlar with Doric order pilasters ... toy battlements appear elsewhere. The interiors are especially fine."[1] The house has spectacular stained glass: "The windows and doors all have very fine and imaginative art nouveau stained glass, with rose trees, birds and other flowers and plants and employing clear glass as part of the design."[2]

Sir Edward made his fortune as the managing director of four separate railway companies at a time of vast expansion of the railways in mid-Victorian Britain. He also founded the Channel Tunnel Company in 1875, which undertook the first large-scale attempt to link England and France. He began construction of a larger version of the Eiffel Tower on the site of the current Wembley Stadium, but this was abandoned after a height of 155 feet had been reached.[3]

In the 20th century, Rose Hill became a children's home, which closed in the 1990s and was later the subject of a wide-ranging investigation into child abuse in Manchester's care homes from the 1960s to the 1980s.[4] In 1979 a major landscape painting by the American artist Frederick Edwin Church was discovered at Rose Hill. The Icebergs had been bought by Sir Edward in the 1860s and, following his death, was subsequently forgotten.[5]

Rose Hill was converted into flats in 2003 and most of the grounds built-over with private housing.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Hartwell et al. 2004, p 465
  2. ^ a b Stuff, Good. "Rose Hill, Northenden, Manchester".
  3. ^ Elleray, Kirsty (4 December 2002), "The nearly man of Northenden", South Manchester Reporter, M.E.N. Media
  4. ^ "Child home abuse group given £2m", BBC News, 7 March 2007
  5. ^ Johnston, Laurie. "2 Britons Find U.S. Artist's Long‐Lost 'Icebergs'".


  • Hartwell, Clare; Hyde, Matthew; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2004), Lancashire: Manchester and the South East, The Buildings of England, New Haven, CT; London: Yale University Press, ISBN 0-300-10583-5
  • Hartwell, Clare (2001), Manchester, Pevsner Architectural Guides, London: Penguin, ISBN 0-14-071131-7

Coordinates: 53°24′06″N 2°14′56″W / 53.4017°N 2.2488°W / 53.4017; -2.2488