Manchester cotton warehouses

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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.

Warehouse commercial storage building for goods in transit

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.

King Street, Manchester road in Manchester city center, England

King Street is one of the most important thoroughfares of Manchester city centre, England. Formerly the centre of the north-west banking industry it has become progressively dominated by expensive shops.

Portland Street street in Hong Kong, Peoples Republic of China

Portland Street is a popular street in Kowloon, Hong Kong. The street is known for its business and retailing skyscraper complex Langham Place, numerous restaurants and its red-light district.

Contents

Function

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. [1]

Sandstone A clastic sedimentary rock composed mostly of sand-sized particles

Sandstone is a clastic sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized mineral particles or rock fragments.

Cast iron iron or a ferrous alloy which has been liquefied then poured into a mould to solidify

Cast iron is a group of iron-carbon alloys with a carbon content greater than 2%. Its usefulness derives from its relatively low melting temperature. The alloy constituents affect its colour when fractured: white cast iron has carbide impurities which allow cracks to pass straight through, grey cast iron has graphite flakes which deflect a passing crack and initiate countless new cracks as the material breaks, and ductile cast iron has spherical graphite "nodules" which stop the crack from further progressing.

Column structural element sustaining the weight of a building

A column or pillar in architecture and structural engineering is a structural element that transmits, through compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below. In other words, a column is a compression member. The term column applies especially to a large round support with a capital and a base or pedestal which is made of stone, or appearing to be so. A small wooden or metal support is typically called a post, and supports with a rectangular or other non-round section are usually called piers. For the purpose of wind or earthquake engineering, columns may be designed to resist lateral forces. Other compression members are often termed "columns" because of the similar stress conditions. Columns are frequently used to support beams or arches on which the upper parts of walls or ceilings rest. In architecture, "column" refers to such a structural element that also has certain proportional and decorative features. A column might also be a decorative element not needed for structural purposes; many columns are "engaged", that is to say form part of a wall.

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. [2]

Manchester Hydraulic Power

Manchester's Hydraulic Power system was a public hydraulic power network supplying energy across the city of Manchester via a system of high-pressure water pipes from three pumping stations from 1894 until 1972. The system, which provided a cleaner and more compact alternative to steam engines, was used to power workshop machinery, lifts, cranes and a large number of cotton baling presses in warehouses as it was particularly useful for processes that required intermittent power. It was used to wind Manchester Town Hall clock, pump the organ at Manchester Cathedral and raise the safety curtain at Manchester Opera House in Quay Street.

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. [3]

Display of goods for sale

Watts Warehouse Britannia Hotel Manchester.jpg
Watts 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, [3] [4] and four more were opened before it was finished.

Palazzo style architecture

Palazzo style refers to an architectural style of the 19th and 20th centuries based upon the palazzi (palaces) built by wealthy families of the Italian Renaissance. The term refers to the general shape, proportion and a cluster of characteristics, rather than a specific design; hence it is applied to buildings spanning a period of nearly two hundred years, regardless of date, provided they are a symmetrical, corniced, basemented and with neat rows of windows. "Palazzo style" buildings of the 19th century are sometimes referred to as being of Italianate architecture but this term is also applied to a much more ornate style, particularly of residences and public buildings.

Richard Cobden English manufacturer and Radical and Liberal statesman

Richard Cobden was an English manufacturer, Radical and Liberal statesman, associated with two major free trade campaigns, the Anti-Corn Law League and the Cobden–Chevalier Treaty.

Mosley Street street in Manchester, United Kingdom

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.

Overseas warehouses

Overseas warehouses were the meeting places for overseas wholesale buyers where printed and plain cloth was discussed and ordered. [3] 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. [4] The Behrens family were prominent in the banking and social life of the city's German community.

Bay (architecture) space defined by the vertical piers, in a building

In architecture, a bay is the space between architectural elements, or a recess or compartment. Bay comes from Old French baee, meaning an opening or hole.

Packing warehouses

The main purpose of a packing warehouse was picking, checking, labelling and packing goods for export. [3] The packing warehouses Asia House, India House and Velvet House on Whitworth Street were among the tallest buildings of their time.

Railway warehouses

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. [5] In the 1890s the Great Northern Railway Company’s warehouse, the last major railway warehouse to be built, was completed on Deansgate. [3]

Heritage

The square mile of "warehouse city" has been described as the finest example of a Victorian commercial centre in the United Kingdom. [6] The area was a core component for listing Manchester and Salford on a tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. [7]

See also

Related Research Articles

Castlefield human settlement in United Kingdom

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.

Deansgate road in Manchester, England

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 long.

Piccadilly Gardens

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

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.

Great Northern Warehouse

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.

The Principal Manchester

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Cottonopolis Nineteenth century nickname for Manchester

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.

Architecture of Manchester

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 warehouse in Manchester, England

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Edward Walters English architect

Edward Walters was an English architect.

Canal warehouse

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, Manchester

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, Manchester

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.

1830 warehouse, Liverpool Road railway station 19th-century warehouse in Manchester, England

The 1830 warehouse, Liverpool Road, Manchester, is a 19th-century warehouse that forms part of the Liverpool Road railway station complex. It was built in five months between April and September 1830, "almost certainly [to the designs of] the Liverpool architect Thomas Haigh". The heritage listing report attributes the work to George Stephenson and his son, Robert. It has been listed Grade I on the National Heritage List for England since May 1973.

Portland Street, Manchester street in Manchester, United Kingdom

Portland Street is a street which runs from Piccadilly at its junction with Newton Street southwards to Oxford Street at its junction with Chepstow Street in Manchester, England. The major buildings of Portland Street include the largest former warehouse in the city centre, Watts Warehouse, the former Bank of England Building and other former warehouses on the corners of Princess Street.

Manchester's first bank was the Manchester Bank of Byrom, Allen, Sedgwick and Place on Bank Street in 1771. Over the next century many new banks were founded. They built impressive buildings in the city. The Co-operative Bank was formed in 1872 as the Loan and Deposit Department of Manchester's Co-operative Wholesale Society, becoming the CWS Bank four years later. However, the bank did not become a registered company until 1971. Its global headquarters is in Balloon Street, and the group headquarters is in the Co-operative Insurance Tower on Miller Street.

107 Piccadilly building on Lena Street in Manchester, England

107 Piccadilly is a Grade-II listed building on Lena Street in Manchester, England. Situated near Piccadilly Gardens, it was originally built as a packing warehouse and showroom with offices for cotton manufacturer Sparrow Hardwick & Company.

References

  1. The Commercial Warehouse, lookingatbuildings.org, retrieved 1 October 2012
  2. Warehouses Whitworth Street, School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering Manchester University, archived from the original on 11 March 2012, retrieved 1 October 2012
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Wyke, Terry (2008). "Manchester warehouses". Revealing Histories: Remembering Slavery. Manchester City Galleries. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  4. 1 2 Parkinson-Bailey 2000 , p. 81
  5. Moss, John (15 November 2011). "Victorian Manchester: Textile Industries & Warehouses". Manchester 2000 Virtual Encyclopedia. Manchester: Papillon Graphics. Archived from the original on 27 January 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  6. INDUSTRIAL AND MODERN PERIOD RESOURCE ASSESSMENT. North West Region Archaeological Research Framework Industrial and Modern Resource Assessment Draft, INDUSTRIAL AND MODERN PERIOD RESOURCE ASSESSMENT, Edited by Robina McNeil and Richard Newman, November 2004, pages

Bibliography