Matthew Ellison Hadfield - Blue Plaque unveiling 6 September 2015

The architect, Matthew Ellison Hadfield (1812-1885), who designed Glossop Town Hall among hundreds of other buildings in Glossop and nationwide, is to be commemorated with a Blue Plaque on Sunday 6th September at Glossop Town Hall. The High Peak Mayor, Cllr Young, will unveil the plaque at 2pm outside the Town Hall on High Street West, following brief speeches from Glossop & District Heritage Trust's Chair Anthony Wright and Jonathan Partridge of Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson, Sheffield. M.E Hadfield was the founding partner of this Sheffield architects' practice which has sponsored the plaque. Afterwards, there will be refreshments and a M.E Hadfield exhibition at Bradbury Community House, Market Street.



Glossop Heritage Trust organised the event and Chair, Anthony Wright, says of M.E Hadfield: "It's very apt that this blue plaque has the support of Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson and we’re grateful to them for underwriting it
and being a major part of his commemoration." He adds: "There’s another reason why this particular Blue Plaque is important to Glossop Heritage Trust: this year, in fact almost to the day, the Trust celebrates its 30th anniversary. What better way of celebrating that than installing a Blue Plaque on Glossop’s foremost building to Glossop’s foremost architect, who you might call the “father” of modern Glossop?”

Glossop station circa 1905

M.E. Hadfield from Lees Hall, Glossop, was a prolific Victorian architect. There had never been and would never be an architect who would produce the eclectic mix of three cathedrals; Sheffield, Salford and Ballahaderreen, railways stations, hospitals, hotels and churches nationwide. M.E Hadfield was a figure of national importance in the world of architecture in the mid nineteenth century, and at the tender age of 21 he became a member of the
Institute of Architecture only a year after its foundation. Three years later this was to receive its Royal Charter as the Royal Institute of British Architects and Hadfield was to serve on its National Council.

Matthew Ellison Hadfield by William Beethan, circa 1845


He also made a significant contribution in his home town of Glossop. Due to his family connection to the Ellisons, Lord Howard's Glossop agents, Hadfield became the Duke’s favourite architect and designed All Saints RC
Church, Glossop Railway Station, the spire of the Parish Church, The Duke of Norfolk School, Glossop Hall (the Duke of Norfolk's residence), St Charles' Church in Hadfield, the Market Hall with 28 shops....and, right at the start of his career, the Town Hall on which the Blue Plaque will remain. Anthony Wright says: "If I had to pick a favourite ME Hadfield building in Glossop it would undoubtedly be All Saints’ RC Church. It is very much a living entity with a thriving and supportive parish having been substantially refurbished and decorated, and I’m sure M.E Hadfield would feel that this building is in very good hands."

M.E. Hadfield was from an established Glossop family which had farmed at Lees Hall where he was born. Leaving school at the age of 15 he went to Sheffield where his mother’s brother Michael Ellison was the Duke of Norfolk’s
Agent. After little more than a year he began articles with Woodhead and Hurst of Doncaster a firm of good regional architects, who had worked on Glossop Parish Church in the 1820s. Following articles he worked with PF Robinson in London, the founder member of the Institute of Architecture, and drew up plans for the 1835 competition to rebuild the Houses of Parliament.

Portrait of Matthew Ellison Hadfield in Salford Cathedral.
On 16 October, 1834 both Houses, the Commons and the Lords, were destroyed by fire and only Westminster Hall and other parts of Westminster Palace were saved. Although just 23 at the time, Hadfield's potential was clearly
recognised and legend has it that out of 97 entries, his Gothic Revival drawings came second to those of Sir Charles Barry whose design we recognise as the Palace of Westminster today.

The Trust’s first plaque, to Edmund Potter, was unveiled by the Mayor last September at the site of his printworks at Dinting Vale, and the Trust’s intention is to erect one every year, so it will shortly be thinking about the next candidate. However, whilst there are many notable people who would qualify, GDHT's one main stipulation is that they must have been dead for at least 10 years!

The Trust will be holding an Open Evening at the Central Methodist on 20th October, 7.30pm, to give a talk about Matthew Ellison Hadfield. All welcome.

Robinson's entry to Parliament competition 1835

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