Built in 1914, the Grade I listed property was designed by internationally renowned architect Edgar Wood as his own home. Heavily influenced by the English Arts and Crafts Movement, Royd House’s main claim to fame, and contribution to Altrincham’s overall landscape, is due to its extremely sophisticated plan. The layout of the building – with its flat roof and concave façade – was very much ahead of its time, and its avant-garde design warranted it a number of mentions in architectural digests, both at the time of construction and in later decades. The building served as nothing more than a family home for the builder and his family in ensuing decades. More recent times have, however, seen the local council recognise the importance and significance of the structure, and the House has received Grade I listed status as a result and is now one of six Grade I buildings in the borough of Trafford although it is privately owned and a residential property
Middleton-born Wood was said to have built the first flat concrete roof in England. At Royd House he used this feature to accentuate the curve of the distinctive concave faéade of Portland stone and Lancashire red brick.
Even the sides of the house are slightly concave, splaying outwards and making for rooms of interesting proportions. In contrast to this, the back of the house presents a flat face to the garden.
Internally, the house is full of intriguing nooks and crannies and rooms with angled walls but, most of all, an ingenious use of symmetry that creates a sense of calm and balance.
Royd House was lavishly decorated by Wood, using rich, beautifully-crafted materials such as limestone and mosaic tiling, inspired by his travels to Spain, Tunisia and Persia.
It is widely thought that the colourful tiles on the exterior, arranged in a Moorish design, were a gift from Pilkington’s, who owed Wood a favour.
The signature diamond motif extends inside to link the circular entrance hall with its delicate detailing and painted walls, through to the beautiful-panelled doors of the drawing room and out to the diamond-shaped flowerbeds in the magnificent landscaped gardens, worthy of any stately home.
When it was bought in 2002 the house required an extensive makeover, not only the interior of the house but also the gardens. The purchasers took great care to ensure that the gardens have been restored in keeping with Wood’s original design and presentation and at the time they said that the garden renovation was the most costly part of the undertaking.