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Ordsall Hall (Salford)

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Tudor period manor house in the middle of Salford. Ordsall Hall is a historic house and a former stately home in Salford, Greater Manchester

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      02.06.2003 03:30
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      Ordsall Hall is the last place you would expect in the middle of Salford. Graffiti and high rise flats yes. A Tudor black and white timbered manor house no. Ordsall Hall Museum is a complete wee gem. I did my work placement for university there so I will try to be as unbiased as possible with this review The History A manor at Ordsall in Salford has been in existence since the Doomsday book. The oldest parts of the existing house date from the fourteenth century. It was the home of the very powerful Radclyffe family throughout the sixteenth century and this is when most of the house including the Great Hall dates from. Where Is It? Ordsall hall is located near Salford Quays in Greater Manchester. The easiest way to access it f you are a non driver is to take the Metrolink to Exchange Quay then turn right and walk for two minutes. You will see the building and will be astonished that it managed to survive and how out of place it looks compared to the other buildings What does it Look Like From The Outside? The back wall of the hall has been bricked over in the Victorian era. It is still a magnificent sight from the road. However it is the front wall of the house which is ultra impressive. It is all black and white timber. Just like you think of a Tudor building What is Inside? On entering the building you will be greeted by one of the friendly staff. On your right there is a Tudor style kitchen with herbs hanging down, a clockwork spit and all sorts of interesting objects. It used to be a Victorian Kitchen but the staff changed it to Tudor to fit in with the rest of the downstairs. In the main entrance area there are original stained glass windows from the house. There is also an exhibition on the history of the hall. It gives a good brief introduction to the hall and there are some nice paintings of the hall in this display The Great Hall On the left of the main entr
      ance is the Great Hall. The panelling on the walls is beautiful and the roof is interesting. There is also rare Tudor furniture in the hall but it is quite sparse. In the corner there are armour and long bows. On open days people can have a go at them. The Star Chamber This is the oldest part of the house dating back the Middle Ages. I love the ceiling. It has tiny painted stars all over it. There is a reconstructed four poster bed and a fire place with a very impressive lintel. There are marks on it which they reckon are from arrows being sharpened against the fire place Upstairs Gallery. There are two rooms upstairs. One contains various temporary exhibitions. These usually have a local emphasis such as the Salford Pals exhibition and the NHS in Salford. They also have craft exhibitions. The other side of the Gallery really lets the museum down. It is terrible. The inventory of objects is as follows. A cross section model of another local Tudor building Kersall Cell, a table, chairs and paintings from Agecroft Hall with accompanying interpretation panels, empty glass cases, a case of seventeenth century leather armour with information on how it was radio graphed, a tenth century wooden canoe and three themed dioramas in glass cases containing Victorian and Edwardian social history objects the three themes are Washday, the Nursery and the Schoolroom. The upstairs gallery has many weaknesses. The real problem is the context of the gallery, or rather the lack of context of the gallery. There does not seem to be any theme running through the gallery. This is such a contrast to the very strong Tudor theme of the downstairs of Ordsall Hall. The feel of it could be compared to a junk shop, a storage space, and is very similar to the curiosity cabinets of the eighteenth century that museums developed out of. The interpretation of the social history cases is particularly poor and very oldfashioned。The glass c
      ases are a barrier to the contents inside。 There is no need for the objects to be in glass cases as most of them are very common items。 From visits to other social history museums including Old Bridge House Museum in Dumfries,Beamish Open Air Museum and Wigan Pier these types of objects were more effectively displayed freestanding in a period room so that they could be handled rather than in the dioramas that Ordsall Hall displays them in。 The gallery needs to be refurbished as it has a worn feel to it。For example the Agecroft exhibition was only supposed to be a temporary exhibition but has just been left。 (N.B this paragraph has been taken from a report I wrote for the work placement) Open Days Every first Sunday of the month Ordsall hall has a family fun day. It is great fun. There are loads of activities for children such as dressing up in replica Tudor costumes ( made expertly by one of the staff), calligraphy, brass rubbing and making an Elizabethan pomander (sticking cloves in an orange). On nice days there are archery demonstrations. The staff are all dressed up in their Elizabethan finery The Staff The staff are very helpful and friendly and are only too pleased to answer any queries. The Ghost. It is reputed that Ordsall Hall is haunted by Margaret Radclyffe. She was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth's and died of a broken heart after her brother died. It is rumoured she haunts the hall as the White Lady. I?ve never seen her though. The Shop. There is a small shop selling a limited range of pocket money goods, books, Lowry prints (cheaper than in the Lowry itself) and other goodies. Another downside to the Hall is the lack of tea room or catering facilities. It did have a popular website with a ghost cam but on checking the site has dissapeared. If in Manchester I would certainly advise you visit to Ordsall Hall. It is op
      en Mond ay to Friday 10am-5pm and Sunday 2pm to 5pm. It is free admission. Go on you will enjoy it.

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