Irwell House Ruins – Prestwich, England - Atlas Obscura

Irwell House Ruins

Drinkwater Park
Prestwich, England

This grand Georgian manor house was converted to serve as an isolation hospital before it was abandoned and destroyed.  


In the middle of a verdant park lie the scattered remains of a once grand Georgian manor. After the manor house was destroyed in a fire in the 1950s, only the outline of the walls and foundations remain to hold the history of Irwell House.

The house was built in 1790 by the local industrialist Peter Drinkwater , who would go on to become the Lord of the Manor of Prestwich. Irwell House’s grounds covered many acres of rural land around the river Irwell. Irwell house and the surrounding land were sold to Prestwich and Salford councils in 1902, who turned the grounds into Drinkwater Park.

The manor house was turned into an isolation hospital for smallpox patients. Its isolated location made it an ideal spot for treating sufferers of this highly contagious disease. The house was abandoned in the 1950s, and in 1958 was badly damaged by a fire caused by a civil defense exercise. Unfortunately the house was allowed to rot after this, until a few years later the remains of the house were demolished, with just the foundations and the bricks of a few walls.

Today what remains of the house lies in a small clearing surrounded by thick woods. It’s possible to see the foundations of the main house and some of the steps, along with part of the former gardens. The site is a few minutes walk from the bridge over the River Irwell in Drinkwater Park.

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