Like the photograph of Platt Chapel in the previous post this picture did not come cheap but it is a very rare, relatively early picture of a long vanished church. I can’t find any other picture of this church as good as this online.

The Scotch Presbyterian Church was situated on Grosvenor Square, near the top of Oxford Road in Manchester, an area that has long been colonised by academic buildings although the square still exists as a small green space. In the centre of the square stood All Saints’ Church and the Presbyterian Church was on the far side of the square, on Lower Ormond Street, the road parallel with Oxford Road. Both churches are long gone the Presbyterian Church ending its days in the 1950s as a wallpaper shop and later as a paint shop before demolition in the early 1970s. All Saints’ was damaged in the blitz.

In the foreground of the picture the graves seen there form part of the church yard of All Saints’ Church. It is an untidy looking area in the picture – there are two lifeless looking trees, denuded of leaves and branches, and the gravestones stand in the middle of a scruffy no-man’s land which is covered in either sand or bare earth amidst clumps of grass. Was it taken in the middle of some building work or renovation or did it always look a mess? Either way it is nothing to do with the Presbyterian Church other than it crops up in the foreground of the picture.

There is a very full set of records for the congregation deposited in Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives. Amongst these the Communicants’ roll books begin in 1832 which suggests a foundation of that date. The pew rents/seat lettings books begin in 1850 when the church was opened for worship, the foundation stone of the new building having been laid on 17th September 1849.

Grosvenor Presbyterian MLIA

An architectural drawing of the church at the time of its opening (Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives)


The church closed in 1940 and merged with Withington Presbyterian Church to form Withington Grosvenor Presbyterian Church further out of Manchester. This congregation closed in 1971 to form Grosvenor St Aidan’s Presbyterian (later URC) Church in Didsbury (now called simply Didsbury United Reformed Church).

The photograph is quite small, it only measures about 8 cm by 6 cm, but it is very sharp and very old. The sister photograph that shows Platt Chapel dates from before 1874 so there is no reason to date this one to any other period. But here it is, the oldest photograph of the Scotch Presbyterian Church, Grosvenor Square, Chorlton-on-Medlock. Long vanished but preserved in this little study, a very precise architectural photograph taken on a sunny day sometime in the middle of the reign of Queen Victoria.

Grosvenor Square 04

The original photograph attached to its card


Google Street View, from a position along Oxford Road just past Manchester Metropolitan University, shows this view looking towards where the church once stood. It would have been visible beyond the trees on the other side of the square (now called ‘All Saints Park’).

Grosvenor Square Google Maps Streetview

Google Street View – Oxford Road


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6 thoughts on “Presbyterian Church, Grosvenor Square

  1. I’ve been reading Joan Littlewood’s autobiography, “Joan’s Book”. She was one of the founders of Theatre Workshop which eventually settled in Stratford, London E15, helped launch the careers of eg. Harry H Corbett & Barbara Windsor, and produced radical stuff such as “Oh What A Lovely War”.
    Back in 1950, they were working in Manchester, still looking for a permanent home, and developed a proposal for the Grosvenor Sq Presbyterian Church to become their theatre. It was turned down by the Regional Licensing Officer. The proposal details by Gerry Raffles, Joan’s partner, is reproduced in the book. “…an imposing structure, faced in stone, the architectural detail rich in character.”


      1. I grew up around Grosvenor Square and went to the Holy Family church and primary school, which was only a few yards away from that beautiful building. It was wrong for the authorities of that time to allow it to be flattened. We lost several of that type in the clearances of the 50’s and onwards.


  2. My Grandparents on my Mother’s side were married in this church on 8 July, 1922. I would have loved to find a postcard or photo of the church, but have had no success. At least I found your website with a photograph and fascinating information about it. I was very fortunate to recently purchase a ‘communion token’ from this very church, which I am thrilled to have. It’s a tangible link with the church where my dear Grandparents, Harry and Lilly Moores were married. Thank you for showing these pictures and sharing all the info about it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a pleasure Christine. I was pleased to find that photo. A communion token from that church is a precious thing to find, you have done well to get one. I think I have seen the tokens they use and I have an idea they include an image of the church. Is that right?


      1. Hello David, Yes, it does have an image of the church on the back which exactly mirrors the architectural drawing you have shown on your site. On the front are the words, ‘Grosvenor Square Manchester’ an image of the Burning Bush (underneath is inscribed ‘And the bush was not consumed’ and at the bottom ‘ This do in remembrance of me’. It is in excellent condition and must be a rare survivor indeed! It came nicely sealed in a little cardboard presentation package from I am really thrilled to have this in remembrance of my Nana and Grandad. I’m also glad to have found your site with all the information and pictures of the church as well. I’d love to have a picture or photo of the church – I’ll just keep looking! Thanks so much for your reply.
        Best Wishes, Christine Lomas.

        Liked by 1 person

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