York House 1911
Harry S Fairhurst
York House was one of the most important buildings built in twentieth century Manchester and must lay claim to be Manchester's first Modern building and one of Europe's first. Its importance was such that, when threatened with demolition, Walter Gropius himself sent a letter of support to the campaigners. The modernity of its design came at a time when Modernism as concept was still in its infancy and its Modernist credentials were not immediately obvious or deliberate. It was the cascading rear wall of glass which drew the attention - a purely functional design device - designed to bring the maximum amount of light into the textile showrooms within. The idea of external glass walls, with no obvious masonry support, became central to Modernist credo and yet York House pre-dated more noted Modernist buildings by over a decade. Its influence did not go unnoticed however and a campaign to save the building from demolition culminated in an exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art in 1968. Despite being listed in 1967 it was demolished in 1974.
Sited on Major Street, Manchester but now demolished