Sunday, 5 February 2017

Salford Library

Salford City Reporter
click on images to enlarge

The Liberal politicianand Salford's first member of parliament, Joseph Brotherton, took the opportunity provided by the passage of the Museums Act of 1845 to further his ambition of providing his constituents with a public library and museum.  His energy eventually led to the opening of the Salford Borough Royal Museum and Library in Peel Park on 9 January 1850

Joseph Brotherton  
(22 May 1783 – 7 January 1857)

Corporation of Salford. Annual Report 1849
click to enlarge

Lark Hill Estate and Peel Park

Peel Park itself was opened on 22 August 1846, and named after Sir Robert Peel, the Lancashire aristocrat who had served twice as Prime Minister,  The park was built on the Lark Hill Estate, which included a Georgian mansion, constructed in 1792. [1]  Originally, the house and grounds had belonged to Colonel James Ackers (1752-1824). Ackers, known as the 'father of the silk trade', was appointed high sheriff of Lancashire in 1800, [2]. Upon his death, the property was sold to William Garnett, who in turn sold it to the Committee for the Formation of Public Parks in Manchester for £5,000 on 29 March 1845. [3]  

Lark Hill House and grounds overlooking the Irwell (1825)
 © Salford City Council

                          Col. James Ackers
                      Salford Museum & Art Gallery
                          painting mentioned in 1860
William Garnett (detail) 

Lark Hill House as part of Salford Museum, prior to its demolition in 1936. 
 © Salford City Council

Lark Hill House: postcard of the 'Museum'

Lark Hill House
Illustrated London News 1868
Christening a lifeboat in Peel Park

With the opening of the park, Lark Hill House was converted into a "Refreshment House", which dispensed food and drink to the visitors. Eventually, space was allocated in the building to the library and museum.


The Leisure Hour (1857)

Peel Park
"tastefully laid out in walks"
Source: Salford Local History Library

Langworthy Wing of Salford Museum and Art Gallery
Photo credit: Alfred Brothers (1878)

Royle & Bennett, Architects, Manchester, Builder's News 1870

Leisure hour 1857 (page 135)

Early Librarians

Major John Plant

In 1849, Major John Plant was appointed librarian and curator.

Greenwood's Library Yearbook (1897)

Benjamin Henry Mullen

Of Interest

Friends of Peel Park


[1]   Some sources erroneously date the construction of Lark Hill House to 1809, but Ackers was living at Lark Hill before that in 179817991800 and 1803.  Recent works date its construction to 1795, others around 1790.
[2] Colonel of the 1st Regiment of the Manchester and Salford Volunteers (Napoleonic War).    He died on 23 May 1824.  He is commemorated in Manchester Cathedral. Terms of his will.
[3] Garnett generously returned £500 as a donation to the Peel Park project.  Ironically, Garnett was Brotherton's parliamentary opponent.

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