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Ask Joan
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Joan Leach is a local historian, a volunteer at the Heritage Centre, a founder of The Gaskell Society, and much more besides.

Dear Joan

Upon a visit to Knutsford last week I was interested to drive down a wide suburban road just outside the town centre with some large detached late 19th century houses designed in what I would call "Portmeirion" style!! Do you know anything about them - who built them, when and why??

With many thanks
Gill Ducker

Joan answers:

Legh Road - The Italianate row of houses was built by Richard Harding Watt from 1897 to about 1906. He lived in The Old Croft which was built for him in 1895. He was NOT an architect but a Manchester glove merchant so had to employ several to manage the technical work. plans etc. As a young man he had travelled around the Mediterranean and this influenced his style.

The Gaskell Memorial Tower and Belle Époque dominate King Street and at the Tatton Park end of the street there is more of his work. ON Moorside there is Coronation Square.

For full information read a recent publication : A Window in Knutsford by Matthew Hyde ( Isbn 1.902685-06-7 The Silk Press £12.95)

Steven Spielberg used Legh Road as a setting for Shanghai in ' Empire of the Sun'

Joan Leach
27.10.02