Northenden and its buildings today
Prior to the conservation area designation, many of the older buildings had fallen into disrepair and were demolished in the slum clearance programme. This included a long row of cottages on the north side of Ford Lane. Cottages on the south side had gone much earlier. These losses left a mere skeleton of the former village, but enough still remains to justify the designation of a conservation area.
The 15th century church of St Wilfrid (listed Grade II*) was largely rebuilt in 1873-6 by the architect J. S. Crowther, in a modification of the medieval style of the former church, It incorporates the original battlemented tower, and fixtures such as the oak screens of 1527 and a chained bible.
The former rectory (listed Grade II) to the east of the church is a Georgian three-storey brick house built around 1740 with a two-storey extension built around 1835. It has tall sash windows on the ground floor with shorter ones above. The panelled front door , facing the garden, has a semi-circular fanlight and pilaster doorcase.
Also on Ford Lane and very much older than the old Rectory is Rectory Cottage, which has a cruck frame (paired timbers framing arches supporting roof and walls) but has been the subject of extensive alteration. Across Ford Lane from the church stands a Georgian two-storey brick house known as Northen House (listed Grade II), which was built rather later than the old rectory. Northen House is built right up to the pavement. The sash windows have been replaced, but the original moulded stone doorcase with pilasters and pediment can still be seen. It is believed that some of Cromwell's soldiers stabled their horses in the adjoining outbuildings.
The cottage adjoining Northen House is probably older. It is also two-storey, but is much smaller and lacks the doorcase and fine detailing which can be seen at Northen House.
Royle Green Road contains other old cottages which are of two storeys, with rendered walls and slate roofs. The large gardens recall a time when each cottage had enough space for the occupants to enjoy home-grown produce.
The Tatton Arms Hotel, at the lower end of Boat Lane on the banks of the River Mersey, is a fine example of Edwardian public house architecture on a grand scale. There are interesting brick details and half-timbered gables on this hostelry, which makes a significant visual as well as social contribution to the conservation area.
Close to the Tatton Arms on Boat Lane stands its two-storey coach house, now used as a theatre, with two oriel windows at ground floor level and a considerable amount of horizontal brick patterning a significant architectural feature.
Church Road was built up on both sides with terraces of houses and shops, some of which still have their original Victorian and Edwardian shopfronts. Later developments, such as the Spread Eagle Hotel and local Health Centre, have not been ideal neighbours for the older property. However, the police station on Ford Lane is in the character of the old cottages, and was constructed since the designation of the conservation area.