Last updated

Cornerhouse 2009.jpg
Location Oxford Street, Manchester,
Coordinates 53°28′27.50″N2°14′28″W / 53.4743056°N 2.24111°W / 53.4743056; -2.24111 Coordinates: 53°28′27.50″N2°14′28″W / 53.4743056°N 2.24111°W / 53.4743056; -2.24111
Opened1985 (1985)

Cornerhouse was a centre for cinema and the contemporary visual arts next to Oxford Road Station on Oxford Street, Manchester, England which was active from 1985–2015. [1] It had three floors of art galleries, three cinemas, a bookshop, a bar and a café bar. [2] Cornerhouse was operated by Greater Manchester Arts Centre Ltd, a registered charity. [3] [4]


The buildings

Cornerhouse occupied two buildings. The main building, 70 Oxford Street, was built for John Shaw in the early 1900s and was a furniture store run by the family until it closed in 1985. The building on the other side of the approach to Oxford Road station was designed by Peter Cummings, completed in 1934 [5] and opened as a cinema, Tatler News Theatre, in May 1935. [6] The cinema went through many changes of name (Essoldo, Tatler Classic, Tatler Cinema Club) before closing in 1981. [6] [7]


Outside the main entrance of Cornerhouse, June 2012 Cornerhouse Cinema in Manchester (7428498866).jpg
Outside the main entrance of Cornerhouse, June 2012

Cornerhouse was conceived by the Greater Manchester Visual Arts Trust, chaired by Sir Bob Scott. It opened with the support of the then Greater Manchester County Council and Manchester City Council, North West Arts Association (now part of Arts Council England) and the British Film Institute.

Cornerhouse's first Director was Dewi Lewis, [8] who had previously been Director of Bury Metro Arts. The building opened on 3 October 1985. The first film screened (on 18 October) was Nic Roeg's Insignificance. Dave Moutrey has been Director and CEO since 1998.

Since its inception Cornerhouse has hosted the UK premiere of Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and was the first UK public gallery to commission work from Damien Hirst.

In 2012, it was announced that Cornerhouse would merge with the Library Theatre Company to form HOME . In 2015, both organisations moved to new premises at the HOME centre.


The main cinema building in its last week of operation prior to re-opening in a new location as HOME - a joint venture with the Library Theatre Company, April 2015 Goodbye Cornerhouse (16830701449).jpg
The main cinema building in its last week of operation prior to re-opening in a new location as HOME - a joint venture with the Library Theatre Company, April 2015

The Cornerhouse offered independent cinema, and contemporary art in the galleries. Cornerhouse's contemporary visual art programme was dedicated to launching artists who had not received major institutional recognition in Britain. It also let mid-career artists realise new projects in commissions and exhibitions on and off-site. The visual arts programme presented works in all media, with an emphasis on film and video that has a strong link with the film programme.

Cornerhouse produced or co-produced all of its exhibitions as well as a programme for each show. A regular feature of its visual arts programme was international group exhibitions which explored socio-political concerns. In 2011, Cornerhouse launched Artist Film, a project for the production and distribution longer films, starting with Gillian Wearing’s Self Made. Cornerhouse was a partner in the plus Tate programme.

On average, 30 titles were screened across the three screens every month. The cinemas were open seven days a week, with daily matinee and evening performances (no matinees on Monday), making a total of almost 3,500 screenings annually.

Cornerhouse film programme was international in scope and offered new and innovative film and video alongside more familiar work. This resulted in the screening of new films and re-releases; second runs of overlooked or underrated titles; classic and archive material; shorts, animation and documentary; avant garde film and television; and foreign language films. Alongside a variety of touring film programmes, Cornerhouse also ran two festivals every year ¡Viva! Spanish [n 1] and Latin American Film Festival and exposures. [n 2]


Photobooks by John Davies, David Lurie, Paul Reas, Chris Steele-Perkins and John R J Taylor, all published by Cornerhouse Cornerhouse-photobooks.jpg
Photobooks by John Davies, David Lurie, Paul Reas, Chris Steele-Perkins and John R J Taylor, all published by Cornerhouse

In 1987, Dewi Lewis launched the Cornerhouse Publications imprint with 'A Green and Pleasant Land' by John Davies. Cornerhouse Publications was joint winner of The Sunday Times Small Publisher of The Year Award in 1990. The imprint continued to be active until 1994 and over the period published books by many major international photographers. [9] [n 3]


  1. The ¡Viva! Spanish website is here Archived 5 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine .
  2. The exposures website is here.
  3. As examples: Chris Steele-Perkins, The Pleasure Principle (1989, ISBN   0948797509); Nick Waplington, Living Room (1991, ISBN   0948797568); Bruce Gilden, Facing New York (1992, ISBN   094879707X); Richard Misrach and Susan Sontag, Violent Legacies (1992, ISBN   0948797274); Robert Frank, The Americans, new ed. (1993, ISBN   0948797835, ISBN   0948797827).

Related Research Articles

Martin Parr British photographer, born 23 May 1952 in Epsom, Surrey, UK

Martin Parr is a British documentary photographer, photojournalist and photobook collector. He is known for his photographic projects that take an intimate, satirical and anthropological look at aspects of modern life, in particular documenting the social classes of England, and more broadly the wealth of the Western world.

Wilmslow Road major road in Manchester, England

Wilmslow Road is a major road in Manchester, England, running from Parrs Wood northwards to Rusholme. There it becomes Oxford Road and the name changes again to Oxford Street when it crosses the River Medlock and reaches the city centre.

Manchester city centre Human settlement in England

Manchester city centre is the central business district of Manchester, England, within the boundaries of Trinity Way, Great Ancoats Street and Whitworth Street. The City Centre ward had a population of 17,861 at the 2011 census.

The Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art is a contemporary art gallery based in Manchester, England, which aims to advance the education of the public in contemporary Chinese arts and culture. It is currently based on Thomas Street in Manchester's Northern Quarter in part of the renovated Smithfield Market Hall.

The Met (arts centre) performing arts venue in Bury, England

The Met is a performing arts venue in Bury, Greater Manchester, England. It has two theatre spaces and a café bar.

Jeremy Deller British artist

Jeremy Deller is an English conceptual, video and installation artist. Much of Deller's work is collaborative; it has a strong political aspect, in the subjects dealt with and also the devaluation of artistic ego through the involvement of other people in the creative process.

Sonia Dawn Boyce,, is a British Afro-Caribbean artist, living and working in London. She is a Professor of Black Art and Design at University of the Arts London. Boyce's research interests explore art as a social practice and the critical and contextual debates that arise from this area of study. With an emphasis on collaborative work, Boyce has been working closely with other artists since 1990, often involving improvisation and spontaneous performative actions on the part of her collaborators. Boyce's work involves a variety of media, such as drawing, print, photography, video, and sound. Her art explores the interstices between sound and memory, the dynamics of space, and incorporating the spectator. To date, Boyce has taught Fine Art studio practice for more than thirty years in several art colleges across the UK.

Dundee Contemporary Arts arts gallery and cinema in Dundee, Scotland

Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) is an art centre in Dundee, Scotland, with two contemporary art galleries, a two-screen cinema, a print studio, a learning and public engagement programme, a shop and a café bar.

Christopher Horace Steele-Perkins is a British photographer and member of Magnum Photos, best known for his depiction of Africa, Afghanistan, England, and Japan.

Shirley Baker was a British photographer, best known for her street photography and street portraits in working class areas of Greater Manchester. She worked as a freelance writer and photographer on various magazines, books and newspapers, and as a lecturer on photography. Most of her photography was made for her personal interest but she undertook occasional commissions.

Viva Festival

¡Viva! Spanish and Latin American Film Festival is an annual festival, established in 1995, that is dedicated to the promotion and appreciation of Spanish and Latin American cinema. It takes place at HOME, Manchester, having previously taken place at Cornerhouse, Manchester.

John Davies is a British landscape photographer. He is known for completing long-term projects documenting Britain and exploring the industrialisation of space. In 2008, he was nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize.

Mike Stubbs Director of FACT

Mike Stubbs is a curator/director and filmmaker based in the UK, currently, the Creative Producer at Doncaster Creates. For 11 years he was the Director/CEO of FACT, the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, a leading arts organisation for the commissioning and presentation of new media art forms. He has been a key contributor to the development of culture and cultural policy in Liverpool, UK. Stubbs was jointly appointed in May 2007 by Liverpool John Moores University, where he is Professor of Art, Media and Curating.

Arts Catalyst

Arts Catalyst is a London-based contemporary arts organisation, known for its commissioned artists' projects, as well as being involved in art and science in the UK.

Dewi Lewis British book publisher

Dewi Lewis is a Welsh publisher and curator of photography.

The University of Brighton Design Archives centres on British and global design organisations of the twentieth century. It is located within the University of Brighton Grand Parade campus in the heart of Brighton and is an international research resource. It has many archival collections that were generated by design institutions and individual designers

Daphne Wright is an Irish visual artist, who was elected as member of Aosdána in 2011. As well as taking part in exhibitions nationally and internationally, she has also produced large-scale commissions. She lives and works between Dublin and Bristol.

HOME (Manchester) centre for international contemporary art, theatre and film in Manchester, England

HOME is a centre for international contemporary art, theatre and film in Manchester, England, that opened in 2015.

Peter Cummings (architect) Russian-English architect

Peter Cummings FRIBA FMSA was a British architect of Russian origin. He was a leading Art Deco architect in Manchester, England.


  1. "Closed for good: Manchester's Cornerhouse bows out with final rave". Manchester Evening News . Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  2. "Cornerhouse". Culture24 . Retrieved 11 September 2011.
  3. "Greater Manchester Arts Centre Ltd". Open Charities. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
  4. "Greater Manchester Arts Centre Ltd". Charity Commission . Retrieved 11 September 2011.
  5. "Peter Cummings". UK: Architects of Greater Manchester 1800–1940. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  6. 1 2 "Cornerhouse Cinemas". Cinema Treasures. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  7. "Manchester: Cornerhouse". Local Government Improvement and Development. Archived from the original on 3 August 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
  8. "About Us". Dewi Lewis Publishing. Archived from the original on 2 September 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
  9. "Dewi Lewis - The man who switched focus onto photographers - and founded a cultural gem". Manchester Evening News. M.E.N. Media. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012.