|Watts Warehouse, Manchester|
Britannia Hotel (formerly Watts Warehouse)
|Architectural style||Wholesale warehouse in eclectic Venetian Palazzo style|
|Town or city||Manchester|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Travis & Magnell|
|Official name||Britannia Hotel|
|Designated||25 February 1952|
Watts Warehouse is a large, ornate Victorian Grade II* listed building standing on Portland Street in the centre of Manchester, England. It opened in 1856 as a textile warehouse for the wholesale drapery business of S & J Watts, and was the largest single-occupancy textile warehouse in Manchester. Today the building is part of the Britannia Hotels chain.
The textile firm, S & J Watts was founded by James Watts (Mayor of Manchester), a Mancunian industrialist and entrepreneur, whose textile business had started in a small weaver's cottage in Didsbury. His success as a cotton trader was part of the commercial boom of the 19th century that gave Manchester the name "Cottonopolis", when the city was a global centre for the cotton trade.
Watts became an important figure among British industrialists, socialising with politicians and churchmen at his home, Abney Hall, in Cheadle. Prince Albert chose to stay with him when he visited Manchester to open the Art Treasures Exhibition in 1857.
The sandstone ashlar warehouse was built by local architects Travis & Mangnall in 1851–56 at a cost of £100,000.Its ornate style typifies the extravagant confidence of many Mancunian warehouses of this period, but the Watts Warehouse is notable for its peculiarly eclectic design. Designed in the form of a Venetian palazzo, the building has five storeys, each decorated in a different style – Italian Renaissance, Elizabethan, French Renaissance and Flemish – and roof pavilions featuring large Gothic wheel windows.
The interior was similarly lavish in its decoration, with a sweeping iron cantilever staircase, balconied stairwell, and mahogany counters for displaying merchandise.
During the First World War 1914–18, many employees of S & J Watts lost their lives in battle. The company marked this by erecting a memorial in 1922 in the main entrance to the building on Portland Street. A bronze sculpture, "the Sentry", stands in an arched niche on the right, and on the opposite side is a marble plaque commemorating the dead. The bronze statue depicts the sentry wearing a Tommy helmet, World War I battle gear and a cape, standing on guard with his rifle with fixed bayonet upright, and was commissioned from the British sculptor Charles Sargeant Jagger who also designed the Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner, London. A statuette version of the figure is to be seen in the study of Eltham Palace, where it was displayed by Stephen Courtauld, who was - like Jagger - a member of the Artists' Rifles during the First World War.
To the enduring memory of those members of the staff of S & J Watts & Co. who laid down their lives for their King and country in the cause of truth, justice and freedom during the Great War. Their name liveth for evermore.— Memorial inscription, Watts Warehouse, Portland Street entrance
During the Second World War, the Watts Warehouse was hit by Luftwaffe bombs, but it was saved from destruction when the fire was smothered by textiles.
The textile industries that built Manchester eventually dwindled and, like many other industrial structures in the North of England, Watts Warehouse fell into disuse and was derelict for many years. The building was threatened with demolition in 1972, but was spared. In the 1980s, the building underwent conversion, retaining many of the original interior features. In May 1982, the Britannia Hotel opened as part of the Britannia Hotels chain initially with 25 rooms and a nightclub, eventually expanding to 363 bedrooms.
The building was Grade II* listed in 1952.The war memorial in the lobby appears on the Imperial War Museum's register.
Albert Square is a public square in the centre of Manchester, England. It is dominated by its largest building, the Grade I listed Manchester Town Hall, a Victorian Gothic building by Alfred Waterhouse. Other smaller buildings from the same period surround it, many of which are listed.
Ancoats is an area of Manchester in North West England, next to the Northern Quarter, the northern part of Manchester city centre.
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.
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.
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.
There are 236 Grade II* listed buildings in Greater Manchester, England. In the United Kingdom, the term listed building refers to a building or other structure officially designated as being of special architectural, historical or cultural significance; Grade II* structures are those considered to be "particularly significant buildings of more than local interest". In England, the authority for listing under the Planning Act 1990 rests with English Heritage, a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Princess Street is one of the main streets in the city centre of Manchester, England. It begins at Cross Street and runs approximately eastwards across Mosley Street, Portland Street and Whitworth Street until the point where it continues as Brook Street and eventually joins the A34.
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.
Cavendish Mill is a Grade II* listed former cotton spinning mill in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, in the United Kingdom. It was built between 1884 and 1885 for the Cavendish Spinning Company by Potts, Pickup & Dixon of Oldham. Cavendish Mill was next to the Ashton Canal Warehouse at Portland Basin. It ceased spinning cotton in 1934 and was then used for a variety of purposes before it was converted into housing in 1994.
Brunswick Mill, Ancoats is a former cotton spinning mill in Ancoats, Manchester, England. The mill was built around 1840, part of a group of mills built along the Ashton Canal, and at that time it was one of the country's largest mills. It was built round a quadrangle, a seven-storey block facing the canal. It was taken over by the Lancashire Cotton Corporation in the 1930s and passed to Courtaulds in 1964. Production finished in 1967.
The Tootal, Broadhurst and Lee Building at No. 56 Oxford Street, in Manchester, England, is a late Victorian warehouse and office block built in a neo-Baroque style for Tootal Broadhurst Lee, a firm of textile manufacturers. It was designed by J. Gibbons Sankey and constructed between 1896 and 1898. It has been designated a Grade II* listed building.
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.
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.
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.
The Rylands Building is a Grade II listed building in Market Street, Manchester, England. Situated close to the Piccadilly area of Manchester city centre, the building was originally built as a warehouse by the Rylands textile company which was founded by John Rylands. That firm had occupied warehouses in High Street ever since 1822. Its west-facing side is on High Street; The building was designed by the eminent Manchester architects, Fairhursts, in an Art Deco style. It is clad in Portland stone and features a decorative corner tower and eclectic 'zig zag' window lintels. The work was completed in 1932.
Macclesfield Cenotaph is a World War I memorial in Park Green, Macclesfield, Cheshire, England. It was unveiled in 1921, and consists of a stone pillar and pedestal and three bronze statues. One statue is that of a mourning female, and the others comprise Britannia laying a wreath over a soldier who had died from gassing, an unusual subject for a war memorial at the time. The memorial is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building.
Great Ancoats Street is a street in the inner suburb of Ancoats, Manchester, England.
Leigh is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan, Greater Manchester, England. The town, together with its suburbs of Bedford, Westleigh and Pennington, contains 33 listed buildings that are recorded in the National Heritage List for England. Of these, four are listed at Grade II*, the middle of the three grades, and the others are at Grade II, the lowest grade.
Manchester is a city in Northwest England. The M1 postcode area of the city includes part of the city centre, in particular the Northern Quarter, the area known as Chinatown, and part of the district of Chorlton-on-Medlock. The postcode area contains 193 listed buildings that are recorded in the National Heritage List for England. Of these, 14 are listed at Grade II*, the middle of the three grades, and the others are at Grade II, the lowest grade.
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