London Road Fire Station is a former fire station in Manchester, England. It was opened in 1906, on a site bounded by London Road, Whitworth Street, Minshull Street South and Fairfield Street. Designed in the Edwardian Baroque style by Woodhouse, Willoughby and Langham in red brick and terracotta, it cost £142,000 to build and was built by J. Gerrard and Sons of Swinton. It has been a Grade II* listed building since 1974.
Despite its listing and prominence, opposite the rear corner of Piccadilly Station, this honeyed and red ochre delight has suffered nought but the indignity of abandonment since its closure in 1986, changing hands as quickly and venally as a worn deck of cards
The finest fire station in this round world stands empty.
The station was originally built as Store Street Station by the Manchester and Birmingham Railway in 1842, before being renamed London Road Station in 1847. It was shared by the Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne & Manchester Railway and it has been rebuilt and added to a number of times, with two news spans added to the train shed roof in 1881 and island platforms added linking to Manchester Oxford Road in 1882 (replacing two old Manchester, South Junction and Altrincham Railway platforms which were built next to the station).
An imposing classical façade with a substantial cast iron and glass train shed, the approach sloping up to the frontage, as of necessity the line entered the city on a raised trackbed.
Initially the approach was lined with railway warehousing, subsequently demolished to make way for the redevelopments of the 1960s.
Detailed plans are made to reshape the station concourse and entrance.
Dreams are turned into reality, as near as makes no difference.
The newly electrified lines opening up the city to a world of high speed intercity travel.
The Krays it seems were deemed to be unwelcome visitors, everyone else came and went, met with equanimity and a bright new modernist vista.
The brand new shiny buffet replaces the archaic dining rooms, as Brylcreemed, bow tied and moustachioed waiters are consigned to the scrapheap of history.
Likewise the gloomy destination boards – out with the old!
And in with the new.
We have a fully integrated modern interior to deal with the modern passengers’ every need – including crystal clear signage, seating and bins.
Stars of screen and stage are guided through with consummate ease, Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev in his brand new baby seal skin coat arrive in 1968 to dance Swan Lake at the Palace.
Esteemed footballer Eusebio on his travels during the 1966 World Cup.
In 1969 Gateway House arrives, Richard Sieffert & Partners wavy hello and goodbye to Manchester’s premier railway station.
Piccadilly has now seen several revamps, the concourse an exercise in contemporary cluttered retail/airport chic, a 125mph Pendolino journey away from the carefully considered internal order of yesteryear.
Who knows what the future holds?
HS2 to name but one – sit back let the train take the strain.