Forum of Private Business, Ruskin Chambers, Drury Lane, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 6HA

A unique opportunity to see one of Richard Harding Watt’s most iconic buildings and a display of Modern Extraordinary Women

The Ruskin Recreation Rooms, as they were originally called, form the key part of the remarkable Drury Lane development designed by Richard Harding Watt (1842-1914). He was a local philanthropist and idealist with a passion for building, who made his fortune from glove making in Manchester. Although he wasn’t an architect, he had a passion for designing buildings and was responsible for Knutsford’s iconic, Italianate-styled buildings. The Ruskin Rooms are built in eclectic Free Style under Harding Watt’s patronage. The use of white-painted render, curved windows, heavy stone lintels and door surrounds and clay pantiled roofs, provide this group of buildings with its special character. The Rooms were built as reading rooms and a fire station.

As a tribute to John Ruskin, the exterior of the building is inscribed ‘Let every dawn of morning be to you as the beginning of life, and every setting sun be to you as its close’ (from Ruskin’s Lectures on Art 1870)

Visitors will be able to walk up the original stairway and enjoy the views from the top floor. There will be a display of Modern Extraordinary Women, presented by The Forum of Private Business – who use the Ruskin Rooms as their offices – to highlight their work with Parliament and the significant role that women play in our political system.

Opening Times

Thursday 6 September: 1300-1500
Saturday 8 September: 1100-1300

Booking Details

Pre-booking: Required
Booking opens: 1 August 2018 10:00
Booking closes: 4 September 2018 16:00


The Ruskin Rooms are currently used as commercial office premises. Visitors will need to be able to walk up a long staircase. There is no parking on site.

Additional Information

During WW2 the Rooms were used by General Patton and a blue plaque on the exterior records: ‘A ‘Welcome Club’ for officers of the American Third Army was opened in this building by General George S Patton Commanding Officer on 25th April 1944 prior to participation in the Liberation of Europe June 1944 to May 1945’. Contact for the day: Ian Cass
Twitter @KnutsfordProms

Organised by

Knutsford Promenades