Join the campaign to save this crumbling iconic Manchester building
Here are at 4Manchester Women, we’re generally pretty lovely and upbeat. But occasionally we come across something that makes us a bit miffed, and when that happens it’s rather hard to keep our mouths shut!
I can’t remember the number of times I’ve walked into the city centre from Piccadilly station, looked up at the crumbling London Road Fire Station and thought “Oh dear, what a shame ….” and then done absolutely nothing about it.
So when a campaign by Adam Prince, to save this majestic building was bought to my attention – I was curious and I looked into it. We have some fantastic buildings in Manchester that we are passionately proud of – The London Road Fire Station is on that list. Read on, and then do what I did and sign the petition!
The London Road Fire Station, Manchester Piccadilly was described by Fire Call magazine as “the finest fire station in this round world” before construction started in 1902.
After winning an architectural competition in 1900, Messrs. Woodhouse, Willoughby & Langham finally completed their project in 1906.
The fine sculptural paneling displaying murals and statues for Justice, Courage, Strength, Fire and Water were designed by John Jarvis Millson and added a real intricacy and delight to the imposing Edwardian Baroque Style.
London Road Fire Station was originally conceived as a combined fire station, ambulance station, police station, gas-meter testing station, public library and gymnasium, though the last two were omitted to make room for a coroner’s court and a bank.
It has survived two world wars and was used as a bunker for civilians in the bombing of Manchester. And in 1952, the world’s first Emergency 999 telephone service came from this very building.
Despite this amazing history, in more recent years, The London Road Fire Station has fallen on harder times. Standing opposite the main station for Manchester, this should be an opportunity for something iconic to represent Manchester. Instead it advertises decay and neglect, the very opposite to the image that Manchester ought to have.
Despite The London Road Fire Station being granted Grade II listed status in 1974, and having been added to the English Heritage At Risk List in 2001, the sad reality is that this iconic building is being left to irretrievable ruin.
This video – a walk around London Road Fire Station – was taken in 2008. It makes pretty depressing viewing.
After years of legal battles, The City Council finally lost its Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) Bid in November 2011 after a public enquiry, when Britannia Hotels, the company who has owned the old Fire Station for the last quarter of a century, promised to make a monumental redevelopment and to fund this project. <you can read about the legal battles here>.
Yet months later in February 2012, they announced that developing the scheme in its present form would not be sustainable either in the current climate or the foreseeable future.
When MP Eric Pickles (Conservative Cultural Secretary) turned down this CPO, many commentators despaired and were shocked by the decision. And since then, the building has continued to deteriorate.
The aim of this petition is to rally for a new Compulsory Purchase Order and to give this building a viable and visionary future.
As the Gateway to Manchester’s past and future, The old Fire Station and Coroner’s Court could be an amazing entrance to our city. Instead, it’s a sad and derelict shadow of it’s former self.
Please sign the petition here and spread the word onwards to people who feel that this beautiful building should be saved as a vital part of Manchester’s heritage!
For any offer of assistance with this campaign please email: ManchesterFireStation@Yahoo.co.uk
Thank you for your support.
Photographs: Adam Prince
This is not a sponsored blog post