History of the Building

Originally ‘The Worshipful Order of Oddfellows’, it took 5 years to build from 1890 until 25th May 1895, when the Foundation Stone was laid. It is believed that this institute only lasted in Shaw until the beginning of World War 1. During this time, the rooms were let out for functions. Until 1979 the original kitchens were situated in the basement of the building, under what is now the year 1 classroom. A dumb waiter took food up to the ground floor and the top floor. You can still see evidence of serving hatches in the entrance hallway and the Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 classrooms. What was a cloakroom for guests using the main hall is now the School’s modern kitchen. There was a further cloakroom for guests using the smaller function rooms on the ground floor, in what is now the staffroom. A photograph taken on June 6th, 1908 shows the meal and celebration of the Silver Wedding anniversary of Mr and Mrs Leadbeater in the main hall. A copy of the invitation card also exists. The photograph shows a large Victorian fireplace between the 4 windows at the back of the hall, which has since been removed.

After the end of World War I, it appears that the building was an Independent Preparatory School for a short period of time. Following this it is believed that from around 1929 the building became an Electric Picturedrome, until the beginning of World War II.

For the duration of World War II, the building was taken over by the Ministry of Defence and became the headquarters of the Shaw and Crompton Battalion of the 27th Coy Lancashire Fusiliers Home Guard under the Commanding Officer, Major G. Cockroft. After cessation of hostilities in 1945, and the disbandment of the Home Guard, Major G. Cockroft donated the Billiard Table which had been used in the hall since the mid-twenties to the Royal British Legion Shaw Branch, and it was certainly still being used there up until recent years. During the war, the hall was also used as a cinema for the local community to watch the Pathé News. The screen was placed at the back of the hall in front of the Victorian fireplace mentioned earlier and the projection room was in what is now the school ICT suite.

After the Second World War, the building was put up for sale and was bought by the Lancashire Cotton Corporation or LCC to be used as a nursery. It was officially opened on 12th May 1947 by Lady Mary Platt of Oldham. The plaque to commemorate the occasion still hangs on the left hand side of the entrance foyer.

Following this information about the building is less detailed but it is known that it was subsequently owned by Courtaulds, also as a nursery, and then by OMBC when it was again used as a school. The building stood empty for two years, before being bought in 1983 by Mrs C.J. Ashworth to become Farrowdale House Independent Preparatory School.