Ardwick Walk

Let’s begin at the Holloway Wall 1968 – the only part of the former UMIST site that’s listed.

Soon this all may well be gone.

Across London Road the former BT Building – JW Hammond 1973

Currently the MacDonald Hotel.

Out the back of the hotel Central Manchester Primary Substation on Travis Street.

The building was cladded with a COR-TEN® steel envelope, the nature of which was relatively complex.

Architect: Walker Simpson

Under the Mancunian Way extension – opened 4th September 1992.

This was to be one end of the planned A57 M M67 crossing the Pennines via Hyde Road where many properties are demolished and the rod widened – for the motorway that never was.

The road was originally conceived as the first section of a trans-Pennine motorway between Manchester and Sheffield that would connect the A57(M) motorway with the M1 motorway; however, the motorway became the only part to be built.


Here we are at the TA Headquarters.

But where did the Co-op go?

Architects: Messrs. Pennington and Bridgen 1865.

Turn left and we are outside Tanzaro House 1907 once home to J&B table waters and fruit squashes.

It’s neighbour Crown Mill once home to JT Dobbins flag makers.

The company were makers of flags for steamship companies, the War Office and the Admiralty. They manufactured wiper and cleaning cloths, bunting flags and decoration and cotton waste.

They had a department store on Oldham Street – which burned down in June 2013.

JT Dobbins was also responsible for the Tom Dobbins Club for old people.

On the corner of Cakebread Street the former CWS Bakery.

Currently home to Yummy Food.

We are on the edge of Ardwick Green.

During the 18th century, the principal focus of the emerging township was ‘Ardwick Green’. The three acre recreation ground was originally created for private, residential use. Georgian townhouses were promptly constructed overlooking the Green, with a number of grand country villas occupying the outskirts.


In 1948, the Green was partially redesigned with new grassed lawns, flowerbeds, shrubberies and walks, with a children’s playground being added in 1951 on the northern side. Between the 1940s and 1960s the majority of early property surrounding the Green was demolished and in part redeveloped with residential properties.

Much of Ardwick has been and gone – including these post war prefabs.

New social housing appeared in the late Fifties.

It still stands later additions and improvements not withstanding.

Across the road a Neo-Georgian telephone exchange.

Up the road to the Apollo – seen here in 1950.

Architects: Peter Cummings Alex M. Irvine

Opened on 29th August 1938 the interior decorations were carried out by noted interior designers Mollo & Egan with the Holophane lighting designed by R. Gillespie Williams.

In April 1960, the World Premiere of the film Hell is a City starring Stanley Baker was held at the Apollo Manchester. The film was shot on location in nearby Levenshulme. The Apollo Manchester was re-named ABC Ardwick in 1962.

It was taken over by an independent operator from 30th January 1977 and began to stage pop concerts, with the occasional use for films to fill in dates. Eventually films were dropped.

This stunning Art Moderne style palace became owned by Apollo Leisure, followed by Live Nation. Now independently operated by the Academy Music Group, it serves as a 2,693-seat capacity – 3,500 with standing room concert venue.

The cafe and ballroom have been unused for several years.

The O2 Apollo Manchester is a Grade II Listed building.

The Ardwick Empire has not survived.

Architects: Frank Matcham

Built as a large variety theatre for Oswald Stoll, and opened on 18th July 1904 with a variety bill topped by Fred Karno and Company in a sketch entitled Saturday to Monday. The opening night also featured animated pictures on the Bioscope.

There were plans proposed to convert the building into a ten-pin bowling alley. This never happened, as it was badly damaged by a fire in February 1964, and was demolished in August-November 1964.

Neither have Naughton and Gold.

Next door a concrete construction Clovella Rainwear and still extant.

It became Kwik Save and then a furniture warehouse – currently has a brightly clad fascia and operates as a storage unit.

Much of Hyde Road and the Ardwick area has changed radically, housing, pubs, industry and retail in retreat

The sides and rear remain unclad.

Into the so called Knitting Area – a collection of industrial buildings including the former Methylating Co Warehouse.

Its decorative details just about intact.

Around the corner to this Sixties office block.

Back down Hyde Road now to the City of Manchester Transport Department.

This typographical gem has recently been covered up by the current occupants.

Department of Transport Offices

Architects: Taylor Young and Partners.

Universal Square the former HQ of Great Universal Stores.

Universal Stores was founded in 1900 as a mail-order business in Manchester, England by Abraham, George and Jack Rose. In 1930, the company changed its name to Great Universal Stores Limited.

In 2004, the company sold its traditional home shopping division in the UK and Scandinavia and its Reality business, which included the White Arrow business to the Barclay Twins for £590 million, who later merged the Littlewoods mail order operations into it. This included the iconic Great Universal Stores catalogue, from which the company took its name, and completed the departure of GUS from its original business areas. Around the same time, the Barclays announced the closure of the Littlewoods Index catalogue showroom chain, the principal rival to Argos in the UK, selling around 35 stores to Argos.


GUS HQ – Architects: Harry S Fairhurst.

Recently re-clad ad marketed as mixed use multiple occupancy office space – principally The Global Banking School.

The earlier HQ Universal Buildings.

2 thoughts on “Ardwick Walk

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s