On Saturday 9 May 2015 twenty one members of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society and Middleton Civic Association visited Clayton Hall on the Manchester/Droylsden border on an excursion arranged by the President, Morris Garratt. The visit included lunch and a special guided tour by the enthusiastic volunteers at the Hall.
Clayton Hall is a rare example of a moated medieval site and the Hall stands on a raised platform which is a scheduled Ancient Monument. The current building is in two sections, the older Tudor building was owned by Humphrey Chetham, the founder of Chetham’s School and Library, from 1620 and it remained in the family (through Humphrey’s brother’s children) until bought by Manchester Corporation in 1897. At present this part of the building is not open to the public as it was, until recently, rented out to a local family, but the Friends have just acquired access to it and hope to extend into it in the future.
The other section of the building dates from the 18th century and is managed by the Friends of Clayton Park and presented as a Victorian home. It includes a Clayton memories room and visitors are free to handle items in the house. The Friends use it as an educational facility for schools and groups and it is open to the public on alternate Saturdays in the summer. The hard work of the volunteers who maintain the building and its garden and deal with group visits was evident throughout. Local residents saved the building from the threat of demolition in the 1970s and the Friends group raised funds to open it as a museum in 2009.
The visit was enjoyed by all and many hope to return to see the older section of the building when it opens in the future.