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Rookwood & Wrenwood, Hilton Lane

Rookwood & Wrenwood, on Hilton Lane, on land to the left of the entrance to Butt Hill, were originally built as private residences in 1881. Described as "Hall Houses", they were designed by Manchester Architect Paul Ogden.

"The object of the architect is to utilise the hall space in such a way as to render it suitable for an additional entertaining room which, in a comparatively small house, is a desirable feature. The whole of the framing, arch screen etc are of wood and toned glass. We may add that these residences each contain a dining and sitting room, so that the hall in this case really gives an extra entertaining room. A small cloakroom, scullery and pantry also occupy the ground floor whilst on the floor above are three bedrooms and a bathroom and on the second floor are four good attics." British Architect, 27 October 1882"


Rookwood & Wrenwood

Robert Ogden (born 1854) took up residence of Rookwood, he and Paul (born 1856) were the sons of Mark Ogden, a plumber, who along with Wife, Mary, were living at Olive Mount, Hilton Street, in Broughton along with 1 daughter and 2 other sons. One of Paul's schools friends went on to become Sir Thomas Vansittart Bowater, who became lord mayor of London and head of the famous paper firm, Bowater. Paul served his articles in 1885, so this property represents one of his earliest works. He had a preference for the Elizabethan and Tudor styles, which is why we see those four impressive chimney stacks on the property.

Paul Ogden

Paul carried out a lot of residential deisgns, also performeing a re-decoration of the Greek Church, Higher Broughton (around the corner from his father's house), amongst other eclisiastical works, and worked on Sir Henry Royce's home, Brae Cottage in Knutsford, as well as the Rolls Royce Factory in Trafford Park.He was president, trustee, and honorary secretary for 21 years of the Manchester Society of Architects, which, in its revised form, was founded largely as a result of his efforts.He was Hon Secretary, Architectural Section, Royal Jubilee Exhibition, Manchester, 1887 and president of the Engineering and Architectural Sections of the Royal Sanitary Institute Congress in 1908.

By 1871 his father, Mark was a Plumber and gas fitter employing 2 men plus 4 apprentices, and Paul was studying Architecure, aged 15.

By 1881, Mary had died, and Mark was living at 83 Bury New Rd, with his son Paul, 4 other daughters a cook and a housemaid. Rookwood and the adjoining Wrenwood had been completed with Robert Ogden, a grey Cloth Merchant living in Rookwood (right hand building) and Louisa Mather, who had married Colin Mather, was living at Wrenwood.

Colin Mather (b:1853) was a cousin of Sir William Mather of Mather & Platts and who lived just around the corner at Woodhill Prestwich. Colin was a son of "Cast Iron" Colin Mather from Durham. Cast Iron Colin (b:1812) had moved down to Salford, living at Hough Lane (1851) then Willow Bank House near the Cliff in Broughton (1861), and his son was apprenticed by age 17, going on to marry Louisa Spear Crago in 1875.

However when Cast Iron Colin retired in 1863, he passed the Mather & Platts business to his brother William (b:1811) who in turn passed it to his son Sir William Mather (b:1838) of Woodhill in Prestwich.

Colin (b:1854) instead went into business with Frederick Foy who had set up a workshop at the corner of Gordon and Milton Street in Broughton, partnering him at "Reliance Radiators". In 1876 Colin took part in cycle races in Lancashire and took work at Mather & Platts, Salford Iron Works. Read more here

See this great site by Marcel Boschi covering the history of Mather & Platt Ltd.

The History of Mather & Platt

Colin and Louisa were still living at Wrenwood in 1911, by which time Colin had retired.

Colin and Louisa died in march & April 1933,

and are buried in St Mary's
[St Mary's NS1]

Roy Crago Mather

Their son, Roy Crago Mather (born at Wrenwood in 1885), studied engineering in Germany, and after gaining experience in the family business, travelled France, Belgium,Switzerland and Italy developing the textfile machinery side of the business. He served in the Manchetser Regiment during WWI, attaining the rank of Major, later becoming President of the 19th Manchester's Old Comradeds Association.

Between the wars Roy returned to his travels of Europe, then turning the business's attentions to armaments during WWII.

He went on to be director of Mather & Platts in 1942, manager-Engineer in Chief of the General Machinery Department in 1945, retired in 1956, and is buried with his parents in St Mary's
[St Mary's NS1]

1891 census

Robert & Harriet Ogden also remained in residence at Rookwood into the 20th Century. Robert died in 1924 aged 70.
Today the two properties have been combined into the Rookwood Private Nursery School & Academy.