Prestwich Housing Scheme, Bent Hill Estate, Prestwich
Among the works noted in Isaac Taylor’s obituary appeared: “Following the war of 1914-18 Taylor acted as chairman of the architect’s panel which carried out the Prestwich Housing Scheme for 500 houses.” At the time Isaac Taylor was president of the Manchester Society of Architects and in his presidential address given on 8 October 1919 he noted: “Several months ago a special meeting was called when I outlined to the members the scheme in which we were invited to cooperate. The president's committee, meeting weekly, has had the scheme in hand, and up to the present time the five estates being purchased by the Manchester Corporation at Gorton, Rusholme, Clayton, Newton Heath and Wilbraham Road and the one estate purchased by the Prestwich District Council, have been laid out under the chairmanship of members of the president's committee and 75 architects have been appointed to cooperate in the erection of the houses.”
In 1919 Prestwich Urban District Council purchased the Bent Hill estate comprising some 33 acres and transferred the Council Offices to Bent Hill from Chester Bank, Bury New Road in 1920. Bent Hill remained in use as Prestwich Town Hall until 1977. The rest of the estate was developed for council housing. The site was bounded by Scholes Lane, Ostrich Lane, Bent Lane and Heywood Road. A new road, Bannerman Avenue was built to connect Heywood Road with Ostrich Lane, dividing the site roughly in half. Houses were built along the perimeter roads and within three separate areas within the site - Green Walks, Scholes Walk, and The Meadows. Prestwich had plans for 600 new houses within the Borough; 320 of these being on the Bent estate. Progress was rapid, with the site layout being approved by the Ministry of Health in August 1919 and the first contract for 32 houses let in October of that year. In April 1920 tenders were invited for a further 141 houses on the estate and by May 1925 Prestwich UDC had built a total of 403 houses under Government assisted schemes.
The true extent of Isaac Taylor’s involvement in the Prestwich Housing Scheme after the preparation of the layout plans remains unclear. The surveyor to Prestwich UDC prepared drawings and specifications and obtained tenders for all the building works and roads with no mention of any architect’s involvement. However, the 33 houses at the junction of Scholes Lane, Heywood Road and Hope Park Road show variation in type and style. These may form the initial phase of development in which architects of the Architects’ Panel may have been involved.