March 29th, 2008

Richard Harding Watt

Richard Harding Watt (1842-1913) was an amateur architect, who dotted his home town of Knutsford with eccentric, arts and craftsy buildings in the Italian taste. They're very pretty. Knutsford is within commuting distance of Manchester and lots of celebs live in the area- Gary Barlow of Take That, for example. Historically, the town's most famous resident was Elizabeth Gaskell, whose husband was minister at the Unitarian church. Harding Watt built a very peculiar, Italianate tower in her memory. Knutsford is Gaskell's Cranford- but so much changed since her day- notably by Harding Watt- that the BBC filmed their dramatization of the book elsewhere.

This is Harding Watt's Ruskin Reading Rooms- a surprising building- with a surprising history...

And here's another Harding Watt creation just down the road....


Tatton Park

Knutsford sits on the edge of Tatton Park. A lot of TV drama has been shot in and around the 1791 mansion- including Granada's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and the BBC's Casanova.