In the final half of the 19th century Manchester's reputation as a financial and commercial centre was boosted by the unprecedented number of warehouses erected in the city centre. In 1806 there were just over 1,000 but by 1815 this had almost doubled to 1,819. Manchester was dubbed "warehouse city". The earliest were built around King Street although by 1850 warehouses had spread to Portland Street and later to Whitworth Street. They are direct descendants of the canal warehouses of Castlefield.
In the mid-19th century, warehouses were mostly built of brick with sandstone dressings and steps to the front door. They were five or six storeys tall with basements housing hydraulic presses, had wooden floors supported on cast iron columns and at the rear of the building was a loading bay with a hydraulic cranes. Fireproof construction was used at the end of the century and into the next. The most successful traders built their own warehouses and many speculative developments offered suites and offices for those who needed smaller premises. Warehouses for the home market in ready-made clothing, haberdashery and fancy goods attracted retailers who visited them to view the goods and make orders. Shipping warehouses, receiving and storing and packing goods for export, multiplied after 1815.
Many early-20th-century warehouses were built to a common design with steps to a raised ground floor with a showroom and offices, and the first floor contained more offices and waiting rooms for clients all decorated to impress customers. The working areas above were plain with large windows to allow in natural light. Orders were packed there and sent to the basement on hoists powered by Manchester's hydraulic power system and packed into bales using hydraulic presses before dispatch. The warehouses were lit by gas.
Warehouses were a dominant part of the urban landscape in the 19th century and continued to be through the 20th century; the buildings remained when their original use had changed. There were several types of cotton warehouse.
Some warehouses displayed finished goods for the home trade such as fashion items. Their street frontages were impressive and some were built in the style of Italianate Palazzos. Richard Cobden's warehouse in Mosley Street was the first to use the palazzo style. There were seven warehouses on Portland Street when the elaborate Watts Warehouse of 1855 was begun,and four more were opened before it was finished.
Overseas warehouses were the meeting places for overseas wholesale buyers where printed and plain cloth was discussed and ordered.Trade in cloth was conducted by merchants of many nationalities. The 1851 census showed 1000 persons of German birth in the city, and in 1871 there were 150 German business houses. Behrens Warehouse was built for Louis Behrens & Son by P Nunn in 1860. It is a four-storey predominantly red-brick building with 23 bays along Portland Street and nine on Oxford Street. The Behrens family were prominent in the banking and social life of the city's German community.
The main purpose of a packing warehouse was picking, checking, labelling and packing goods for export.The packing warehouses Asia House, India House and Velvet House on Whitworth Street were among the tallest buildings of their time.
Manchester became a railway hub, and goods for the home market and export left the city by train. Warehouses were built close to the major stations. The first was opposite the passenger platform at the terminus of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. There was an important group of warehouses around London Road station (now Piccadilly). The London Warehouse at Piccadilly was one of four built by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway in about 1865 to service its station. The warehouse was also linked to a branch of the Ashton Canal. It was built of brick with stone detailing and had cast-iron columns with wrought-iron beams. Three warehouses have been demolished, but one that was used as a car park was restored as residential units.In the 1890s the Great Northern Railway Company’s warehouse, the last major railway warehouse to be built, was completed on Deansgate.
The square mile of "warehouse city" has been described as the finest example of a Victorian commercial centre in the United Kingdom.The area was a core component for listing Manchester and Salford on a tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Castlefield is an inner city conservation area of Manchester in North West England. The conservation area which bears its name is bounded by the River Irwell, Quay Street, Deansgate and Chester Road. It was the site of the Roman era fort of Mamucium or Mancunium which gave its name to Manchester. It was the terminus of the Bridgewater Canal, the world's first industrial canal, built in 1764; the oldest canal warehouse opened in 1779. The world's first passenger railway terminated here in 1830, at Liverpool Road railway station and the first railway warehouse opened here in 1831.
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.
A warehouse is a building for storing goods. Warehouses are used by manufacturers, importers, exporters, wholesalers, transport businesses, customs, etc. They are usually large plain buildings in industrial parks on the outskirts of cities, towns or villages.
Deansgate is a railway station in Manchester city centre, England, 1,100 yards (1 km) west of Manchester Piccadilly, close to Castlefield at the junction of Deansgate and Whitworth Street West. It is part of the Manchester station group.
Deansgate is a main road through Manchester city centre, England. It runs roughly north–south in a near straight route through the western part of the city centre and is the longest road in the city centre at over one mile in length.
Piccadilly Gardens is a green space in Manchester city centre, England, between Market Street and the edge of the Northern Quarter. Piccadilly runs eastwards from the junction of Market Street with Mosley Street to the junction of London Road with Ducie Street; to the south are the gardens and paved areas. The area was reconfigured in 2002 with a water feature and concrete pavilion by Japanese architect Tadao Ando.
Manchester Central railway station is a former railway station in Manchester city centre, England. One of Manchester's main railway terminals between 1880 and 1969, it has been converted into an exhibition and conference centre, originally known as G-MEX, but now named Manchester Central. The structure is a Grade II* listed building.
The Great Northern Warehouse is the former railway goods warehouse of the Great Northern Railway in Manchester city centre, England, which was refurbished into a leisure complex in 1999. The building is at the junction of Deansgate and Peter Street. It was granted Grade II* listed building status in 1974.
Cottonopolis was a 19th-century nickname for Manchester, as it was a metropolis and the centre of the cotton industry.
The Manchester warehouse which we lately visited, was a building fit for the Town Hall of any respectable municipality; a stately, spacious, and tasteful edifice; rich and substantial as its respectable proprietors, the well-known firm of Banneret and Co. There are nearly a hundred such buildings in Manchester; –not so large, perhaps, for this is the largest; but all in their degree worthy of Cottonopolis.
Liverpool Road is a former railway station on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in Manchester, England that opened on 15 September 1830. The station was the Manchester terminus of the world's first inter-city passenger railway in which all services were hauled by timetabled steam locomotives. It is the world's oldest surviving terminal railway station.
The architecture of Manchester demonstrates a rich variety of architectural styles. The city is a product of the Industrial Revolution and is known as the first modern, industrial city. Manchester is noted for its warehouses, railway viaducts, cotton mills and canals - remnants of its past when the city produced and traded goods. Manchester has minimal Georgian or medieval architecture to speak of and consequently has a vast array of 19th and early 20th-century architecture styles; examples include Palazzo, Neo-Gothic, Venetian Gothic, Edwardian baroque, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and the Neo-Classical.
Bridgewater House, Manchester is a packing and shipping warehouse at 58–60 Whitworth Street, Manchester, England. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building.
Edward Walters was an English architect.
Whitworth Street is a street in Manchester, England. It runs between London Road (A6) and Oxford Street (A34). West of Oxford Street it becomes Whitworth Street West which then goes as far as Deansgate (A56). It was opened in 1899 and is lined with many large and grand warehouses. It is named after the engineer Joseph Whitworth whose works once stood along the route. Whitworth Street West runs alongside the viaduct connecting Oxford Road and Deansgate railway stations: beyond Albion Street the Rochdale Canal is on the northern side. On the Albion Street corner is the building once occupied by the Haçienda nightclub at nos. 11-13 while further east on the same side is the Ritz.
Mosley Street is a street in Manchester, England. It runs between its junction with Piccadilly Gardens and Market Street to St Peter's Square. Beyond St Peter's Square it becomes Lower Mosley Street. It is the location of several Grade II and Grade II* listed buildings.
A canal warehouse is a commercial building principally associated with the expansions of canals from 1761 to 1896. This type of warehouse derived from coastal predecessors, had unique features: it had internal water filled canal arms that entered the building, it was multistorey with canal access at one level and road and even rail egress at another, and has a hoist system powered by a water wheel or at later stages steam. Canal warehouses were transhipment warehouses, holding goods until they could be shipped out to their next recipient. The first true canal warehouse was the Dukes Warehouse, at the Bridgewater Canal Basin in Castlefield, Manchester built in 1761. It has been demolished, but two later warehouses at Castlefield have been restored. The later Portland Basin warehouse, was built in 1834 by the architect, David Bellhouse. It has three shipping arms, and continued to be used as a storage warehouse after its serving canal became disused.
Asia House at No. 82 Princess Street, Manchester, England, is an early 20th century packing and shipping warehouse built between 1906 and 1909 in an Edwardian Baroque style. It is a Grade II* listed building as at 3 October 1974. Nikolaus Pevsner's The Buildings of England describes the warehouse, and its companion, No. 86, Manchester House, as "quite splendid ... good examples of the warehouse type designed for multiple occupation by shipping merchants". It attributes its design to I.R.E. Birkett, architect of the Grade II listed companion building, Manchester House, which is similar in design. English Heritage attributes it to Harry S. Fairhurst. Asia House has an "exceptionally rich" entrance hall and stairwell, "lined with veined marble and green and cream faience, with designs of trees and Art Nouveau stained glass".
India House in Whitworth Street, Manchester, England, is a packing and shipping warehouse built in 1906 for Lloyd's Packing Warehouses Limited, which had, by merger, become the dominant commercial packing company in early-20th century Manchester. It is in the favoured Edwardian Baroque style and is steel-framed, with cladding of buff terracotta and red brick with buff terracotta dressings. It is a Grade II* listed building as of 3 October 1974.
The Manchester station group is a station group of four railway stations in Manchester city centre, England; this consists of Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Victoria and Deansgate. The station group is printed on national railway tickets as MANCHESTER STNS. For commuters travelling from one of the 91 National Rail stations in Greater Manchester, the four stations are printed as MANCHESTER CTLZ which additionally permits the use of Metrolink tram services in Zone 1.