modsocs A-Z of modern manchester

L is for Law CourtsL

Posted by Jack Hale Fri, November 23, 2012 19:18:21

Crown Courts of Justice

City Architects Dept under LC Howitt, 1957 - 62,

Crown Square

Manchester M60 1PR

Another of our favourite City Architects suite of municipal buildings that define Modernist Manchester.

The Courts of Justice in Crown Square was envisaged as the culmination of a grand Processional Way linking the pomp and splendour of the Victorian Albert Square complex through Brazennose Street into the heart of the Post War Modernist landscape of the city, arising majestically from the ashes of the bombed out city...

Crown Square with its Education Offices, Magistrates and Coroners Courts was the epitome of post war municipal ambitions - a new kind of public realm, one dedicated to the civic needs and rights of its citizenry 'from cradle to grave'. It is now replaced by Spinningfields, a consumerist landscape of banking, spending and 'luxury' retail.

Take a look at some great images on for a glimpse of what lurks beneath the exclusive chain stores, eateries and apartments inhabiting the old ceremonial way...

Follow our Toastrack Hollings Residency on our marvellous blog here!

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K is for KioskK

Posted by Jack Hale Tue, November 13, 2012 22:38:21

K8 Classic Red telephone Box

Bruce Martin 1968

Simon Engineering Building,

University of Manchester,

Brunswick St,

M13 9TU

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The last design in the classic red kiosk series, epitomised by Giles Gilbert Scott's much loved and familiar K6, was the uber modern K8, unveiled in 1968 and hailed as a masterpiece of industrial design with its distinctive illuminated top, brighter red shade and large glass panels.

The design was chosen by Tony Benn when he was postmaster general at the height of Labour's enthusiasm for white heat technology. 11,000 were rolled out but now there only a dozen or so working boxes left scattered about the country, mainly in isolated areas, plus clusters in Swinton and Hull. The twentieth century society have declared them rarer than the dodo, so imagine our surprise and delight when an eagle eyed modernist sighted one earlier this year hiding in plain sight on our own university campus!!!

J is for John Dalton buildingJ

Posted by Jack Hale Wed, October 31, 2012 17:43:53

Formerly The Faculty of Technology,

City Architect, 1966, for Manchester Polytechnic,

Oxford Rd/ Chester St.


The John Dalton Building is part of Manchester Metropolitan University and straddles Chester St round the corner. Formerly the Polytechnics Faculty of Technology Building, this long squat monster has been extended many times.

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The original building of 1966 by Besant Roberts (City Architect Dept) is a conventional tower with glass stair, the 1974 extension by W Heppell (City Architect Dept) is 5 storeys with continuous windows and slanting glazing angled upwards from concrete frame.

Blog imageJohn Dalton can be spotted on the Chester St entrance where he was installed in 1966 for the opening of the new technology dept...

And meanwhile on the west the single storey engineering workshops are described quite rightly in the Manchester Pevner as having a 'jaunty stepped roofline'....

great images of this and other MMU buildings can be enjoyed on flickr here

M1 5GD

I is for InstituteI

Posted by Jack Hale Fri, October 19, 2012 19:22:02

I is for the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology...

We love the former UMIST campus so much that we cant stop going on about it! Designed and built throughout the 1960s to a masterplan by Cruikshank and Seward, this remains one of the finest modern landscapes in the city and is almost unique as a contained inner-city example of the post-war expansion of British Universities.

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Our CAMPUS project even saw us become uninvited artists in residence at the site, autonomously declaring the entire landscape as Manchester’s first Modernist Conservation Area, and staging a celebration day of activities to highlight its many architectural treasures.

The campus, much of which is under threat as it becomes ever more surplus to requirement by the University, is not only of significance due to its architectural and sculptural qualities but also because of its place within scientific and mathematical modern history.

Recent headline in the local press have once again reared up the spectre of sell offs and redevelopment of this unique modernist beauty....

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H is for Hollings. & Howitt!H

Posted by Jack Hale Sat, October 13, 2012 18:10:31

Our favourite architect LC Howitt was responsible for the infrastructure of the postwar City - from the abattoir to the crematorium. He was also charged with repairing and reconstructing the Free Trade Hall after its extensive bombing in WW2. All this and he still found time to design some of Manchester's finest modern buildings including the Law Courts off Bridge St and the sublime Toastrack, Manchester Metropolitan University's Hollings Campus in Fallowfield.

Completed in 1960 its enormous triangular shape was deemed controversial and rather upset the traditionalists! However it captured Mancunian hearts and soon even Pevsner proclaimed it 'a perfect piece of Pop architecture', an accolade confirmed by its subsequent Grade II listing.

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Currently the subject of our latest 'Modernists in Residency' projects you can join us as we excavate and celebrate the building, its residents and history on our dedicated TOASTRACK blog...!

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G is for GranadaG

Posted by Jack Hale Thu, October 04, 2012 23:29:07

Granada TV Studios

Ralph Tubbs

1962, Unlisted

Granada House was built by Ralph Tubbs (whose modernist credentials include the centrepiece for the 1951 Festival of Britain) for Sidney Bernstein, Granada’s chairman, for his new venture: Granada Television.

No expense was spared on the commission of this landmark office and studio complex, the UK’s first ever purpose built television studios, predating BBC’s television centre by four years, and just about surviving it, as the old Beeb HQ is being demolished as we write....

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Nowadays, with the ITV takeover and rebrand, Granadaland the concept and company has long gone, but its magnificent bricks and mortar survive, as does its place in our hearts. But recently even this hangs in the balance, beginning with the removal of the giant red neon signage in 2011, and rumours circulating about the future of the site once ITV have left and sold up. Despite its unique architectural and cultural significance the complex remains unlisted and unprotected against the vagaries of the property market...

M60 9EA

F is for Fac51 - The HaciendaF

Posted by Eddy Rhead Thu, September 27, 2012 23:36:18

Interior - Ben Kelly

Whitworth Street West



The Hacienda' cultural significance is well documented. However Ben Kelly's designs for the interior of club were equally as important.

His post modern industrial chic was to be copied innumerable times and with regard night club design it saw the beginning of a real shift away from sticky carpets, chrome and mirrors of the 1970s and 80s over to a more robust and hard edged look for night clubs. The influence was to stretch further - the design influencing a new wave of bars, into office and retail interiors and into graphic design.

It is a cliche but the design of The Hacienda was years ahead of its time and had it survived maybe another 10 or 15 years could surely have been worthy of listing.

Such was its importance, the interior of The Hacienda was recreated for the recent British Design exhibition at the V&A Museum.

Architecturally and culturally The Hacienda was much more than just a nightclub.

E is for Elizabeth HouseE

Posted by Jack Hale Fri, September 21, 2012 13:42:50

Cruikshank & Seward

St Peters Square, M2 3DE


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grubby, derelict and long derided for its 'cheap finish', Lizzy House (RIP), famous for serving generations of students generous helpings of Pancakes and fried chicken, was finally demolished this year to make way for yet another 'signature' office tower, part of the much vaunted yet hotly contentious Peter Square revamp.

delicate, assymetrical with interesting stairs & a delicate rooftop, all balanced on slim mosaic tiled columns, this was a shy beauty which always deserved a second more sympathetic glance. and a sympathetic refurb....

D is for DailyD

Posted by Jack Hale Fri, August 31, 2012 09:39:01

Daily Express Building

Owen Williams, 1939

Grade II* Listed

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Great Ancoats Street, Manchester

M60 4BT

C is for CISC

Posted by Jack Hale Fri, August 31, 2012 09:27:45

CIS Building (Co-operative Insurance Society)

Gordon Tait / G S Hay 1962

Grade II Listed

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Miller Street


M60 0DL

B is for BartonB

Posted by Jack Hale Tue, June 05, 2012 16:07:14

Barton Aerodrome, Control Tower

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Listed Grade II

Liverpool Road, Eccles


M30 7SA

A is for ApplebyA

Posted by Jack Hale Sun, April 29, 2012 10:31:28

Appleby Lodge, Wilmslow Rd.

Gunton & Gunton with Peter Cummings

Listed Grade II

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Appleby Lodge is Manchester’s original modern apartment development. The 100 luxury serviced apartments were designed by architects Gunton & Gunton in association with Peter Cummings for Town and Country Consolidated Properties, and built by Moston Brick and Building Company between 1936-39.

The streamlined modernist design and use of innovative building materials were married to the concerns of inter-war health and hygiene reformers. All flats were planned to give the maximum amount of sunshine, and amenities included constant hot and cold water, central heating in addition to the fire place, fitted kitchens ensuring maximum cleanliness, and not one but two indoor toilets for flats with two bedrooms (at a time when most terraced houses in Manchester still had outside water closets).

A free tennis court for use by the tenants promoted the healthy lifestyle - as did the solarium, sun deck and roof garden included in the prospectus but never built. Set back from the road and laid out in attractive gardens overlooking Platt Fields Park, Appleby Lodge was marketed to the middle classes as a modern oasis within a short tram ride of urban Manchester. Manchester’s original modern apartments were Grade II Listed in March 2003.

Thanks to Glenn Manc for the above

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Z is for ZionZ

Posted by Eddy Rhead Fri, April 27, 2012 16:42:01

Struggling to find a building connected with the letter Z so have chosen the story of the establishment of the State of Israel where Manchester, as with many world events, played a central role.

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Chaim Weizmann was the first President of Israel and one of the leaders of the Zionist movement that pushed, in the first part of the 20th century, for the establishment, in Palestine, of a Jewish homeland.

It was during his time at Manchester University, where he lectured in Chemistry, that Weizmann developed a formula for producing acetone. Acetone was a vital component in high explosives and during the First World War Britain's was effort was close to total collapse as it could not produce enough shells to fight the relentless campaign in France and Belgium.

Weizmann was willing to share his acetone production research under the proviso that the British, who controlled Palestine at the time, would work to establish a Jewish homeland - now known as Israel.

Weizmann got his wish and his efforts were rewarded in 1949 when he became the first President of the newly formed state of Israel.

The establishment of Israel, and the resulting unrest its formation would cause, has done much to shape modern world history and its formation and roots can be directly linked to a chemist who worked and lived in Manchester.

Y is for YMCAY

Posted by Eddy Rhead Mon, April 09, 2012 11:28:34

Former YMCA - Peter Street

Woodhouse, Corbett and Dean


A little out of our period but included because it is a very modern building underneath its very grand terracotta facade. The core of the building is of reinforced concrete and represents an early use of the material in Great Britain. Probably because of the YMCA's origins in the USA the architects chose to use a system devised by the architect Albert Kahn and was necessitated by the fact the designs called for a swimming pool on the top floor - creating huge loads on the building. Sadly all of the internal evidence of the YMCA - the swimming pool, gymnasium and running track etc - has been removed. M2 3NQ

X is for ExchangeX

Posted by Jack Hale Fri, March 16, 2012 08:29:03

Royal Exchange Theatre

Levitt Bernstein, 1976

St, Annes Square Manchester

M2 7DH

W is for Wright RobinsonW

Posted by Jack Hale Fri, March 02, 2012 07:59:58

Wright Robinson Hall

Cruikshank & Seward


Hall of Residence at the former UMIST Campus, University of Manchester, M1 7JA

V is for Victoria Station HeliportV

Posted by Eddy Rhead Fri, February 24, 2012 11:26:32

Heliport at Victoria Station


Architect unknown


Part of the current exhibition Infra_Manch at CUBE gallery, Manchester

U is for Underground and UnbuiltU

Posted by Jack Hale Sat, February 18, 2012 12:00:36

Underground Railway - the Picc-Vic

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Unbuilt - proposals abandoned c.1977

Manchester City Centre

features in the exhibition 'Infra_MANC', February 2012: curated by Richard Brook (Manchester School of Architecture) and Martin Dodge (Department of Geography, University of Manchester)

T is for Tree of KnowledgeT

Posted by Jack Hale Fri, February 10, 2012 08:38:12

Tree of Knowledge

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Blog imageAlan Boyson 1962

Cromwell Secondary School

Blandford Rd, Salford

(although the school has been demolished, the Tree of Knowledge remains)

Listed Grade II

Alan Boyson's ceramic Stations of the Cross can be found in the RC church of St. Raphael the Archangel - see 'R is for Raphael'.

S is for Stella Maris S

Posted by Eddy Rhead Fri, February 03, 2012 18:24:04

Stella Maris Seamen's Club and Hostel

Later Salvation Army Hostel


Desmond Williams and Associates

M3 5HP

The Stella Maris was demolished in April 2012. The foundation stone was rescued by the Manchester Modernists and was found to contain a time capsule, inside this was a half crown coin and a scroll commemorating the laying of the foundation stone in 1964.

R is for RaphaelR

Posted by Jack Hale Fri, January 20, 2012 08:43:58

St Raphael the Archangel RC Church

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Massey & Massey, 1961-3

Huudersfield Rd, Staleybridge

SK15 3JL

Following a succesfull application by the Manchester Modernist Society to English Heritage – the uber lovely St.Raphael the Archangel (1961-3) in Stalybrige has now been listed Grade II. We visited the church in the Summer and were wowed by the overall design, the stained glass and the bespoke Stations of the Cross. We were saddened to hear just a couple of weeks after the visit that the Church was to be closed by the Diocese of Shrewsbury. St Raphaels is by Massey and Massey of Warrington. Dalle de verre stained glass by Pierre Fourmaintraux of Powells (Whitefriars Studios). Stations of the Cross and water stoops by Alan Boyson. Central pendant light fitting by McGloughlin of Dublin.

more here

Q is for Queens University BelfastQ

Posted by Eddy Rhead Fri, January 13, 2012 16:58:50

Ashby Building, Queens University, Belfast

Cruickshank and Seward


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A bit tenuous this one but a great building by the Manchester practise of Cruickshank and Seward. It also displays many of the characteristics of its other buildings from the period in Manchester such as the Renold Building, Arthur House and the Roscoe Building.

P is for PeterP

Posted by Jack Hale Fri, January 06, 2012 08:48:09

Peter House

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Anstell & Bailey


2-3 Oxford Street, Manchester

M1 5AN

O is for Oxford Road StationO

Posted by Eddy Rhead Fri, November 25, 2011 20:28:12

Oxford Road Station


Architect for London Midland :W R Headley

Project architect : Max Clendinning

Grade II listed

N is for Northcliffe HouseN

Posted by Eddy Rhead Thu, October 13, 2011 22:21:10

Northcliffe House, Deansgate

Offices and printing plant for the Daily Mail

Waddington Son and Dunkerley 1904 with later additions by J W Beaumont 1929


M is for Minut Men M

Posted by Eddy Rhead Thu, September 29, 2011 23:31:12

Minut Men

Allerton Building

Salford University

William Mitchell 1967

Images from William Mitchell's website

An article about the work of William Mitchell can be found in the current edition of The Modernist magazine

M6 6PU