Students Learn About Local Genius

Students at Manchester Health Academy were inspired by the knowledge of local historian, Geoff Scargill, when he dropped into their Maths and Geography lessons recently. 

Geoff, a Board member of the Academy, is Chairman of the Friends of Rose Hill.  The group aims to make the fascinating history of the amazing Watkin family and Rose Hill House in Northenden better known, and to make sure that Rose Hill Woods survive for public use. 

Geoff shared his knowledge and enthusiasm for Sir Edward William Watkin (1819-1901), a man ahead of his time, in several inspiring sessions.  

Watkin’s work included engineering the first high-speed rail link into London and building a tower that was to be significantly taller than the Eiffel to be situated in Wembley Park – building started, but the project ran out of money and was eventually pulled down, making way for Wembley Stadium. He was commissioned to build a channel tunnel, which progressed several miles, until the government suddenly realised that a tunnel might open the way for a French invasion, and again called the project off. 

Watkin had Rose Hill mansion built in Northenden, where he entertained the greats of his day, including Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and author Charles Dickens. 

Mr Green, Principal, said “We hope that sharing Watkin’s story will help our students to appreciate that anyone can achieve great things with perseverance.  It is amazing to think that a man who achieved so much lived just minutes from the Academy.”