modsocs A-Z of modern manchester

modsocs A-Z of modern manchester


an alphabet of 20th century greater manchester architecture, from the manchester modernist society. in regular instalments from aldine to zochonis.

L is for Law Courts

LPosted 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 Kiosk

KPosted 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

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!!!

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J is for John Dalton building

JPosted 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.

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.

John 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

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I is for Institute

IPosted 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.

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....

M1 3BB

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H is for Hollings. & Howitt!

HPosted 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.

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...!

M14 6HR

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G is for Granada

GPosted 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....

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

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E is for Elizabeth House

EPosted by Jack Hale Fri, September 21, 2012 13:42:50
Cruikshank & Seward

St Peters Square, M2 3DE


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....

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D is for Daily

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

Daily Express Building

Owen Williams, 1939

Grade II* Listed

Great Ancoats Street, Manchester

M60 4BT

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C is for CIS

CPosted 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

Miller Street


M60 0DL

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B is for Barton

BPosted by Jack Hale Tue, June 05, 2012 16:07:14
Barton Aerodrome, Control Tower


Listed Grade II

Liverpool Road, Eccles


M30 7SA

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A is for Appleby

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

Appleby Lodge, Wilmslow Rd.

Gunton & Gunton with Peter Cummings

Listed Grade II

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

M14 6HZ

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X is for Exchange

XPosted by Jack Hale Fri, March 16, 2012 08:29:03
Royal Exchange Theatre

Levitt Bernstein, 1976

St, Annes Square Manchester

M2 7DH

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W is for Wright Robinson

WPosted 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

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U is for Underground and Unbuilt

UPosted by Jack Hale Sat, February 18, 2012 12:00:36
Underground Railway - the Picc-Vic

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)

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T is for Tree of Knowledge

TPosted by Jack Hale Fri, February 10, 2012 08:38:12
Tree of Knowledge

Alan 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'.

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R is for Raphael

RPosted by Jack Hale Fri, January 20, 2012 08:43:58
St Raphael the Archangel RC Church

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

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P is for Peter

PPosted by Jack Hale Fri, January 06, 2012 08:48:09
Peter House

Anstell & Bailey


2-3 Oxford Street, Manchester

M1 5AN

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J is for James

JPosted by Jack Hale Fri, August 12, 2011 09:26:38

St James Club

Casson Conder & Partners 1966 (interior design)

Charlotte Street, Manchester.

The Club has since relocated to more traditional premises.

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H is for Hopwood

HPosted by Jack Hale Fri, July 22, 2011 16:07:36

Hopwood Hall Chapel

Frederick Gibberd, 1965

Grade II

Rochdale Road, Middleton

M24 6XH

Chapel (now deconsecrated). 1964-65. Designed by Frederick Gibberd in association with Reynolds and Scott. Reinforced concrete frame with mauve-coloured concrete block infill. Ring beam exposed at eaves has counterweights for the roof at the corners and is of board-marked, unpainted reinforced concrete; lantern ribs are of exposed, unpainted precast concrete. Copper low-pitched roof; coloured glass to lantern. Narrow, horizontal band of glazing separates the wall from the ring beam above on each side, except the entrance side and the facet opposite. Octagonal plan with low, projecting lean-to entrance to one angle, reached by a pair of flying staircases. Central altar, raised on several steps. Projecting organ gallery with organ facing the entrance (and containing former sacristy behind). Polygonal side chapel with metal railings to right of this. Ceiling has double 'Y' shaped expressed framing, with white triangular infill panels between. Original benches have been removed. Coloured glass in lantern comprises simple rectangles of red, yellow and green and was designed by D Atkins. This centralised chapel reflects the influence of the Liturgical Movement and is related to Gibberd's Liverpool Cathedral in its design

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F is for Fairburn

FPosted by Jack Hale Fri, July 08, 2011 10:06:05

Fairburn House - aka Renaissance Hotel

Cruikshank & Seward 1972

Deansgate/Blackfriars Street, Manchester

M3 2EQ

Originally designed as offices and later converted into a hotel

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D is for Docks

DPosted by Jack Hale Fri, June 24, 2011 08:45:08
Manchester (Salford) Dock Gates

Fairhursts, 1925

Trafford Road, Salford

M50 3XB

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B is for Bank of England

BPosted by Jack Hale Fri, June 10, 2011 08:44:57
Bank Chambers - formerly Bank of England

Fitzroy, Robinson & Partners, 1971

Charlotte Street


M1 4EH

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Z is for Zochonis

ZPosted by Jack Hale Fri, May 27, 2011 09:49:21

Zochonis Building

aka Electrical Engineering Building, Manchester University

Beaumont, J. S. & J. W, 1953

Brunswick Street

Manchester M13 9PL

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X is for X Rated

XPosted by Jack Hale Fri, May 13, 2011 11:25:13

Tatler Cinema (now Cornerhouse)

Prior to re-opening as Cornerhouse Cinema 1, the Tatler was an 'Erotic' Cinema Club

Peter Cummings 1935

Oxford Street/Station Approach, Manchester

M1 5NH

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V is for Vigilance

VPosted by Jack Hale Wed, May 04, 2011 15:32:02


Kieth Godwin

Manchester Evening News - forecourt

Deansgate, Manchester

(now disappeared)

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T is for Telecom

TPosted by Jack Hale Fri, April 15, 2011 16:21:18

Telecom (BT) House aka Victory House and MacDonald Hotel

J W Hammond, 1973

London Road, Manchester

M1 2PG

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