The original Long Street Methodist Sunday School was a unique place of learning for those without a weekday education. Edgar Wood used the forms and materials of rural buildings to create a school which looked forward to a civilised future where natural beauty and education went together. The school was published across Britain, Europe and USA for over a decade as a progressive design to be emulated.
It comprises a beautiful group of Arts & Crafts buildings set around a garden, possibly a unique concept for a school and church combination. Contrasting with the adjacent brick church, the north facing school facade is finished in lime-washed render with abstract art nouveau forms in stone and brick.
The church, school, infants schoolroom, ladies (teachers) room and lecture room are individually expressed buildings connected to one another. However, all are united under rustic stone flag roofs. The form perhaps the biggest expanse of traditional stone roof in the north of England.
Inside, the focal point of each room is an open roof structure which supports the exceptionally heavy roof. The one in the Lecture Room has king post trusses with plant-like curving struts, an art nouveau touch. The romantic roof over the Ladies Parlour blends perfectly with the art nouveau chimney.
By far the largest space is the School Hall where Edgar Wood installed six spectacular trusses that sit on long curved braces to gain the required width of the hall.
The school is owned by Greater Manchester Building Preservation Trust and supported by a lively group of volunteers who have formed a social enterprise to manage it’s future as a community and heritage facility. Restoration grants gave been submitted to three funding bodies to cover £500,000 of repair work.