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The Park was base for politics
2:14pm Thursday 27th November 2008 in News
IT WAS the late 1880s when this shot captured Miss Anna Maria Philips and her father Robert Needham Philips at their home, which was then simply known as The Park, Prestwich, although it was strictly in Whitefield.
Robert was born in 1815 and was educated first at Stand Grammar School and then at a private school in Bristol. He eventually went into his father’s business, J and N Philips.
In 1848, Robert built Park Lane School, which he equipped and staffed at his own expense. In 1857, he started his political career by being elected Liberal Member for Bury. He was re-elected eight years later and again at every subsequent election up to 1885.
The Park, during this time, was often the scene of political dinner parties.
Anna Maria was born at the Park on August 27, 1857, where she spent her early youth.
During her father’s lifetime, she became his constant help and companion, more especially in respect of his political work. She and her father were always at The Park from August to October.
At the age of 21, Anna became Park Lane School manager and, after the death of her father, she became patron of the school — a position she held until 1920, when the school merged with the new council school in Higher Lane.
In 1913, a new Stand Grammar School for Boys and Girls was opened in Church Lane and Anna became vice-chairwoman of the governors until 1937.
She was all along opposed to the school being combined and through her efforts a separate girls’ grammar school was opened in 1937. That school is now known as Philips High School.