Since George Osborne first mentioned the Northern Powerhouse in a speech back in 2014, it is a term that has quickly entered the political vocabulary and appears in news stories and google searches regularly.
With the proposed epicentre of the Northern Powerhouse in Manchester and attention turned to the city, we thought it was only appropriate to shine a spotlight on some of the best and brightest resident venues set to flourish with the expected surge in economic activity.
Manchester Central is arguably one of the most iconic buildings in the city skyline. Originally Manchester Central Railway Station, the property dates back to 1875 and is most notable for its large wrought-iron arched roof. Closed in 1969, it was later acquired by the Greater Manchester County Council and redeveloped as the G-Mex concert venue. Redeveloped again in 2008, it reopened as the Manchester Central we know today, and its iconic Grade II listed Central Hall has hosted a range of world-renowned exhibitions, banquets and concerts.
A close neighbour of Manchester Central is Manchester Central Library, owned by the Council and operated under the same management team. Originally opened in 1934, it closed in 2010 for significant restoration works and reopened in 2014. Not likely to be one of the first venues that would spring to mind, but Central Library’s stunning design, inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, makes it one of the finest event spaces available in the heart of the city centre.
One of Manchester’s newest and coolest venues, Albert Hall is a Grade II listed building which previously served as a Methodist chapel. Left unused from 1969, it was resurrected in 2012 as a unique live event venue which has welcomed some of the biggest names in music into its striking music hall. Maintaining many of its original gothic features including the grand organ, coloured glass windows and striking staircases, it is arguably one of the most atmospheric and characteristic venues in the city.
The Museum of Science and Industry is a popular attraction amongst locals and visiting tourists, as a globally recognised heritage destination including 5 listed buildings and located on the site of the world’s first railway station. The distinguishing buildings and warehouses embody the character of Manchester as a booming 19th Century industrial powerhouse and hold a range of award-winning galleries and event spaces perfect for up to 300 guests. MOSI also hosts its own flagship events including the celebrated Manchester Science Festival.
Old Granada Studios, previously the headquarters of Granada Television, were the oldest operating purpose-built TV studios in the UK at the time of their closing in 2013, and are most notable as the home of Coronation Street and host of The Beatle’s first TV performance in 1962. When the studios closed, production moved to MediaCityUK and the property was retained by Allied London, the team behind Spinningfields and London Road Fire Station. Marketed as Manchester’s new cultural destination, Old Granada Studios has a calendar packed with public events including pop-up markets, live music and food festivals and a variety of spaces for unique corporate and private bookings.
All we can say is watch this space. This former fire station and neighbour to Piccadilly Station was opened in 1906 and housed a police station, ambulance station, bank and coroners court. During operation it housed the firemen, their families and the horses that drew the carriages, but after becoming expensive to maintain the Grade II listed property was closed in 1986 and left unused and derelict until being purchased by Allied London late 2015. After outlining ambitious plans for redevelopment which include the restoration of the building’s original features and quirks, Allied London are poised to deliver one of the most exciting dining, drinking and event destinations Manchester has to offer.
Shaunagh Durkin, Senior Consultant, Shopping Centre and Venue Management, Foundation Recruitment