History in Structure

The Towers (Shirley Institute)

A Grade II* Listed Building in Didsbury East, Manchester

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 53.4081 / 53°24'29"N

Longitude: -2.2261 / 2°13'34"W

OS Eastings: 385063

OS Northings: 390163

OS Grid: SJ850901

Mapcode National: GBR DYW1.V0

Mapcode Global: WHB9V.SL3N

Plus Code: 9C5VCQ5F+6G

Entry Name: The Towers (Shirley Institute)

Listing Date: 4 March 1974

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1270516

English Heritage Legacy ID: 458458

Also known as: BTTG

ID on this website: 101270516

Location: East Didsbury, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M20

County: Manchester

Electoral Ward/Division: Didsbury East

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Manchester

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater Manchester

Church of England Parish: Didsbury St James and Emmanuel

Church of England Diocese: Manchester

Tagged with: Architectural structure Office building Mansion

Find accommodation in



698-1/9/683 (South side)
04/03/74 The Towers (Shirley Institute)


Mansion, now offices. 1868-72, by Thomas Worthington, with
carving by Thomas Earp of London, for J.E.Taylor (the then
proprietor and editor of the Manchester Guardian); altered
internally (and with late C20 additions). Red brick with
sandstone dressings and slate roofs. Irregular double-pile
plan on east-west axis, with external kitchen attached at
north-east corner and gallery at south-west corner. French
chateau style. Two storeys with cellars, attics, and tower; an
assymetrical 7-bay north front with stone plinth, band between
floors, parapet, a slender octagonal turret at the left
corner, an octagonal oriel at the right-hand corner, a square
2-stage tower above the entrance in the 5th bay (all these
with slate spire roofs with swept eaves and the tower with a
corbel table to the cornice), gabled dormers between these,
and steeply-pitched hipped roof with various tall chimneys.
The doorway has a C13-style porch with buttresses, moulded
2-centred arch with marble shafts, and projected curved
balcony parapet with corner tourelles. All fenestration is of
cross-window form, with double-chamfered stone surrounds, the
dormers have Gothic enrichments including finials, and the
oriel to the right has a prominent moulded corbel enriched
with carved grotesques, and smaller grotesques at the angles
of the cornice. The kitchen, attached at the left end by a
short link, has a large mullioned window, and steep hipped
roof with louvred penthouse ventilator. The west end, which is
stepped and irregular, has (inter alia) a very large mullioned
and transomed stair window with stepped sills, mounting round
a corner, and at the south-west corner a square single-storey
extension (the gallery) with pyramidal skylight roof. The
south front, which is in matching style, includes a 2-storey
canted bay window at the west end and a bold octagonal turret
at the east corner, with features like those of the oriel at
the front. Interior: L-shaped division between family and
service accommodation, the principal rooms being in the south
and west ranges and the services in the north and east; much
original decoration in the former, including large entrance
hall with screen of granite shafts to massive stone staircase
with stained glass windows, coffered ceilings with painted
panels here and in the parlour and library, Gothic panelled
doors with original foliated brass furnishings; massive stone
fireplace in kitchen, servants' stairs at east end. History:
probably never occupied by J.E.Taylor, who sold it in 1872 to
David Adamson, iron founder and engineer, one of the founders
of the Manchester Ship Canal; occupied since 1920 by Shirley
Institute (textile research).

Listing NGR: SJ8506390163

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.