Top architectural buildings of Macclesfield

Around 16 miles south from Manchester on the River Bollin lies the market town of Macclesfield. From its industrial successes that earned it the nickname “Silk Town”, to its campaigns to save historic buildings, this Cheshire town dating back to Medieval times has a rich architectural history waiting to be explored.

The changing church

Overlooking Market Place stands St Michael and All Angels Church. While a church has resided at the site in Macclesfield from the 13th Century, it has undergone numerous transformations. It has seen two large-scale reconstructions, the most recent being between 1898 and 1901, but to this day, two ancient chapels are present, dating back to the 15th and 16th Century, respectively.

The plan of St Michael’s church features aisles to the north and south, a nave with six bays and a chancel presenting vestries both north and south. Along with two chapels there is a church tower. On the west facet of the tower a clock is mounted and beneath it are statues of saints and the Virgin and Child within a niche. The tower features some of original masonry for the church including the carved stones originally used in construction. The interior of the church contains architectural elements from many different eras, including Gothic, Jacobean and Victorian, while the bells in the tower were cast in the early 20th Century.

A myriad of mills

The only mill town to evade bombing during World War II, Macclesfield’s mills origins lie in the 17th Century with the silk-button industry and later in the 18th Century when it became a major manufacturer in the silk trade. While the earliest mills have mostly been demolished, there are still plenty of these brick buildings to see around town. Many have been repurposed into apartments and shops, while the Paradise Mill has been restored and repurposed as a museum dedicated to the silk industry.

A blend of architectural styles

Macclesfield is home to many examples of intriguing architecture. While the two-storey Macclesfield Town Hall features a Greek Revival style, it includes a Georgian-style extension, complete with red brick and dressings of faux stone. Some of its courtyard stones date back far earlier to 1398 and were originally part of Macclesfield Castle’s porch.

A Grade II Listed building, St Alban’s church was designed by Augustus Pugin in 1838 and provides a sterling example of his Perpendicular Gothic style.

Inspired designs

A highlight of the affluent town’s architecture is the Arighi Bianchi furniture shop on the Silk Road. Constructed by a local builder named George Roylance who was Inspired by architect Joseph Paxton’s 1851 design for Crystal Palace, the striking four-storey structure features a frontage built from glass and cast iron. In 1973, it was rescued from demolition by successful campaigners that included the Architectural Society, the Victorian Society, and the poet Sir John Betjeman.

From churches with origins in ancient times, to stately Gothic buildings, there are many fascinating structures to see in Macclesfield. If you find yourself strolling its streets, be sure to take some time to appreciate the impressive array of architecture on display.

Posted by Mark
July 1, 2020

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment