Owens Park

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Owens Park

Tower Block, Owens Park, Manchester.jpg

Owens Park Tower Block in 1985
General information
Address 293 Wilmslow Road, Fallowfield, Manchester
Coordinates 53°26′42″N2°13′02″W / 53.44500°N 2.21722°W / 53.44500; -2.21722 Coordinates: 53°26′42″N2°13′02″W / 53.44500°N 2.21722°W / 53.44500; -2.21722
Construction started 1964
Completed 1966
Owner University of Manchester
Height 61 metres (200 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 19
Design and construction
Architect Building Design Partnership
[1] [2]

Owens Park is a large hall of residence located in the Fallowfield district of the city of Manchester, England. The hall is owned by the University of Manchester and houses 1,056 students. Owens Park is a significant part of the Fallowfield Campus of the University of Manchester. The terms 'Owens Park' and 'Fallowfield Campus' are sometimes used interchangeably.

Fallowfield suburb of the city of Manchester, England

Fallowfield is a suburb of Manchester, England, with a population at the 2011 census of 15,211. Historically in Lancashire, it lies 3 miles (5 km) south of Manchester city centre and is bisected east–west by Wilmslow Road and north–south by Moseley Road and Wilbraham Road. The former Fallowfield Loop railway line, now a cycle path, follows a route nearly parallel with the east–west main road.

Manchester City and metropolitan borough in England

Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 545,500 as of 2017. It lies within the United Kingdom's second-most populous built-up area, with a population of 3.2 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority is Manchester City Council.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.



The hall, designed by Building Design Partnership, [1] and built in 1964–66, is most notable for its 61-metre-high (200 ft) tower, [3] which is a local landmark. It has a fibreglass relief, Cosmos I, by Mitzi Cunliffe, at the base. [1]

BDP, formerly known as Building Design Partnership, is a firm of architects and engineers employing over 900 staff in the United Kingdom and internationally.

Mitzi Cunliffe American sculptor

Mitzi Solomon Cunliffe was an American sculptor. She was most famous for designing the golden trophy in the shape of a theatrical mask that would go on to represent the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and be presented as the BAFTA award. She also produced textiles, ceramics, and jewellery.

A 2001 plan by the University of Manchester to demolish the tower in 2004 [4] was subsequently abandoned as a result of protests by current and past residents. In 2005 a refurbishment programme was planned; no action has yet been taken.[ citation needed ]. It was announced in 2014 that Owens Park is due to be demolished as part of the plans to redevelop the Fallowfield Campus with brand new student accommodation.


Owens Park in 1975 Owens Park 1975.jpg
Owens Park in 1975

Owens Park comprises five main residential blocks (Tower, Tree Court, Green Court, Little Court, and the Mall), an entertainment block (referred to as "The OP"), where the weekly Owens Park BOP ('Big Old Party') used to take place, and an administration/library block. It also contains a computer cluster available to all students of the University.

Computer cluster group of computers

A computer cluster is a set of loosely or tightly connected computers that work together so that, in many respects, they can be viewed as a single system. Unlike grid computers, computer clusters have each node set to perform the same task, controlled and scheduled by software.

The residential blocks are internally sub-divided into 'houses', each now housing approximately 30-40 students. In the past, Tree Court was exclusively female, whilst the other blocks housed only male students. Now all block are of mixed sex, though any given floor in a house is single sex with exception to the tower. Each house has a supervising tutor and a common room. Each floor in a house has its own bathroom and kitchen (though the kitchen closest to a common room is often used by the whole house rather than its intended floor). The halls are catered during the week.

There are generally rivalries between adjacent houses and other halls of residence, these can be contested in sporting events such as football as each halls of residence generally have a team. Football matches are held each Wednesday and the occasional Saturday (for cup matches).

Owens Park Students' Association (OPSA) organises leisure and sporting activities, and is run by a committee formed of current students living in the hall.

Notable residents

Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien was a resident during his time at university in Manchester, as was Rik Mayall [5] . The Chemical Brothers played their first gig at the Owens Park BOP. The comedian Jack Whitehall also lived in the Tower. Other residents included Peter Hammill and Chris Judge Smith who formed Van der Graaf Generator in 1967 while living there [6] .

Radiohead are an English rock band formed in Abingdon-on-Thames in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke, brothers Jonny Greenwood and Colin Greenwood (bass), Ed O'Brien and Philip Selway. They have worked with producer Nigel Godrich and cover artist Stanley Donwood since 1994.

Ed OBrien musician

Edward John O'Brien is an English guitarist and member of the alternative rock band Radiohead. O'Brien attended Abingdon School in Oxford, England, where he met the other members of Radiohead. O'Brien makes extensive use of effects units to create atmospheric sounds and textures, and provides backing vocals. In 2010, Rolling Stone named O'Brien the 59th greatest guitarist of all time.

Rik Mayall British comedian and actor

Richard Michael Mayall was an English comedian, actor and writer. Mayall formed a close partnership with Ade Edmondson while they were students at Manchester University, and was a pioneer of alternative comedy in the 1980s.


Prior to September 2009 Owens Park BOP (Big Old Party) was a night held in Owens Park every Friday in the Owens Park tower's ballroom for students of the University of Manchester. The BOP generally had a theme and from September 2008 charged £1 entry to residents, which had caused some outrage amongst residents as previously it had been free. It had a charge of £3.50 for all other entrants. Only students were allowed to enter the BOP and a student card must have been presented upon entry.

University of Manchester public research university in Manchester, England

The University of Manchester is a public research university in Manchester, England, formed in 2004 by the merger of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology and the Victoria University of Manchester. The University of Manchester is a red brick university, a product of the civic university movement of the late 19th century.

The BOP was a popular student night out due to its low cost of drinks and transport as most of the BOP's customers were residents of local student halls of residence. However, Owens Park residents had been known to have become disgruntled both at the terrible music often played by the DJs and the students from other halls of residence coming to the event with the large queues this created to gain access.

The BOP usually had a theme each week such as a western theme or a dead celebrity theme causing large numbers of students to dress up for the occasion.

The BOP was set out very much like a classic school disco except with the inclusion of the sale of alcohol. As a customer entered they were greeted with the main tower bar with its own DJ and a vast amount of seating; however, the main draw of the BOP lay in the large hall upstairs. Upstairs there was a second bar and a foyer-like drinking area, and next door there was a large conference hall. The large hall had a disco-like atmosphere and professional DJ on the stage, with small amounts of seating at the sides. The BOP was generally open from 8 pm till around 2 am; however, times had been known to vary.

The BOP was run by the Owens Park Student's Association Executive Committee (OPSA). The Committee is also in charge of running all other hall activities such as the pub quiz, karaoke, sports, and hall pub and club outings.

The BOP is known on a larger scale for being the venue of the Chemical Brothers' first gig.

After its 2009 move to a pub outside Fallowfield, the Jabez Clegg, attendances steadily declined. Following many rumours the last ever BOP took place on 25 January 2013, bringing an end to its 25-year run.

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  1. 1 2 3 Clare Hartwell, Matthew Hyde and Nicholas Pevsner (2004) [1969]. Pevsner Architectural Guides - Lancashire: Manchester and the South-East. ISBN   0-300-10583-5.
  2. Accommodation Office - Owens Park, University of Manchester, retrieved 27 October 2012
  3. Owens Park Tower - SkyscraperPage.com
  4. "Student homes face the bulldozer", Manchester Evening News, 2 February 2001, retrieved 27 October 2012
  5. https://theconversation.com/young-gifted-and-punk-my-mad-days-with-rik-mayall-28026
  6. Christopulos, J., & Smart, P. (2005). Van der Graaf Generator, The Book: A History of the Band Van der Graaf Generator 1967 to 1978, page 1. Phil and Jim Publishers. ISBN   978-0-9551337-0-1