Screen Wall Water Feature – Manchester

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Breakin’ down the walls of heartache, 

I’m a carpenter of love and affection.

So sang Johnny Johnson of the Bandwagon.

They were a permanent fixture at the New Century Hall in the late sixties.

Attached to New Century House, the Hall was an integral part of the extensive Cooperative Society property development in Manchester.

Much of that development now faces an ever uncertain future.

None more so than the adjoining screen wall.

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Set to the north-east side of the building’s entrance forecourt is a concrete sculptural screen wall by John McCarthy with an abstract relief to the south-west side facing into the forecourt. The wall is aligned at a right angle to the building’s main entrance and has a shallow rectangular pool (now drained) set in front. The wall includes numerous openings from which water originally flowed into the pool, but the system is no longer in working order. The pool also originally incorporated small fountains.

Information from Historic England

At a time when the whole of the centre of the city seems alive with construction, refurbishment, gentrification and more quarters than you could shake a stick at, this forlorn and seemingly unloved gem stands, shrouded in shrubs.

I’m a carpenter of love and affection, who would not care to see, this particular wall:

Broken down.

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