Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Stockport (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
SJ 91375 90366



II* Villa in grounds. 1812-14, designed by Thomas Harrison in Greek Revival style for Peter Marsland, a leading Stockport industrialist. Sandstone ashlar with slate roof.

PLAN: Compact villa with central stair hall around which principal rooms are located. Link corridor on west side to recessed service wing. Secondary stair in service wing.

EXTERIOR: Main block of two storeys with basement; ashlar with a plinth, plain frieze with moulded cornice, and a hipped slate roof, with a brick stack on the west side. South, entrance front is of three bays with a central curved hexastyle portico with Greek Ionic capitals. Double doors of eight fielded panels under rectangular glazed fanlight, with tall, narrow light to either side. Flanking bays have tripartite windows with stone mullions and segmental-headed tympana. Moulded string course between ground and first floors. Three unadorned flat-headed windows to first floor with 3-over-6 pane hung sashes. East elevation is of three bays with an attached colonnade on the ground floor with each bay separated by two Ionic columns, supporting a frieze and cornice. Three tall windows with 6-over-9 pane hung sashes. Bays on first floor separated by slightly projecting panels with rectangular sunken panels to centres. Three flat-headed windows with 3-over-6 pane hung sashes. North elevation is of five bays, with attached colonnade on ground floor, with each bay separated by a single Ionic column supporting a frieze and cornice. Five tall windows on ground floor and five windows on first floor, both similar to those to west elevation. Service wing of two storeys with basement; ashlar with a plinth, sill bands, moulded cornice, and hipped slate roof with two wide brick stacks running north-south. South elevation is of three bays with a recessed single link bay to right. Flat-headed hung sash windows on both floors; 6-over-6 panes on ground floor, 6-over-3 panes on the first floor. West elevation is of three bays with a raised central doorway with six-panelled door and a flight of stone steps rising against wall from south. Flight of stone steps down to basement doorway below. 6-over-6 pane hung sash window above, cutting first-floor sill band. Outer bays have 6-over-6 pane hung sashes on the ground floor and a 6-over-3 bay window to the left on the first floor; window to the right is blind. Tripartite basement window to the right bay. Modern single-storey outbuilding (not of special interest) built against left bay, obscuring basement level. North elevation is of two wide bays with a recessed single link bay to the left. Link bay has inset doorway with sunken panels to either side, plain frieze and moulded cornice, with segmental-arched fanlight over. Part-glazed timber door. First-floor window with 6-over-3 pane hung sash with sill band. Service wing bays have tripartite windows on the ground floor and 6-over-3 pane hung sashes on the first floor.

INTERIOR: Main entrance doorway opens into an entrance hall with cornice and coved ceiling with plaster panels and central light rose. Symmetrical door arrangement with architraves, panelled reveals and soffits, and six-panelled mahogany doors. Rectangular plaster relief panels above. Stone diamond-set flag floor. In centre of north wall is a marble commemoration plaque dated 29 August 1931. Door to right leads into central stair hall lit by domed lantern. White marble cantilevered staircase with metal balustrade and swept timber handrail. Recessed panels with moulded plaster frames to walls and ceiling, empty wall niches, plaster relief panels, moulded cornices. Stone diamond-set flag floor. Four original ground-floor reception rooms, the north-west room now subdivided by partition wall. Two sets of double doors between two rooms on north side of house. Six-panelled mahogany doors, with panelled reveals and soffit between. Marble chimneypieces in south-east and south-west rooms. Moulded cornices and plasterwork. First floor retains six-panelled doors, architraves, moulded cornices, timber chimneypiece in south-west room. Various plaster relief panels and roundels. Ground and first floors of service wing were not inspected. Large basement with coved ceiling rooms to both main block and service wing.

SUBSIDIARY ITEMS: Greek Revival drive entrance portico on west side of grounds; sandstone ashlar in form of distyle in antis portico, with two fluted columns supporting an architrave set between square flanking pilasters. Iron fencing between columns and pilasters, with pedestrian entrance through centre of columns. Sans serif bronze lettering spelling WOODBANK MEMORIAL PARK fixed to frieze, possibly dating from the 1930s. Matching half of entrance, on opposite side of drive, is missing.

HISTORY: Thomas Harrison was a leading Greek revivalist, pioneering baseless Doric and a simplified Ionic order. He designed a great range of building types, and domestic architecture was a small, but important part of his practice. It is likely that he also designed the entrance portico. Peter Marsland, for whom the villa was built, was a major cotton manufacturer, who owned Park Mills in Stockport. In 1921, Sir Thomas Rowbotham J.P. bought the house and grounds and presented it to Stockport as a First World War memorial. The house opened as a museum in 1931. The grounds are still used as a public park, but the house is not presently open.

SOURCES Peter Arrowsmith, Stockport A History (Stockport, 1997, reprinted 1999), 127, 177, 195 Moira Rudolf-Hanley, Harrison, Thomas (bap.1774, d.1829), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/12451, accessed 6 May 2009]

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION Woodbank is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: * It is a highly refined early C19 Greek revival villa by Thomas Harrison, an architect of national renown who pioneered a severe Greek Revival style for both public and domestic commissions * The building uses high-quality craftsmanship and materials to enhance the visual simplicity and purity of the design * The interior contains high-quality plasterwork, fixtures and fittings, such as a fine cantilevered marble staircase, doors, architraves, fireplaces, and numerous relief wall panels with classical themes to compliment the Greek revival style of the architecture.

This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 25 October 2017.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Arrowsmith, P, Stockport a History, (1997), 127,177,19
Rudolph-Hanley, M, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Thomas Harrison, (2004)
War Memorials Online, accessed 25 October 2017 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/195021
War Memorials Register, accessed 25 October 2017 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/18433


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 04 Mar 2001
Reference: IOE01/02214/26
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Derek Trillo. Source Historic England Archive
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