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Photos by John Moss

Manchester Academic Buildings


Regional College of Art, All Saints

Located in Cavendish Street in All Saints, the former Regional College of Art, now part of the Metropolitan University of Manchester, whose oriiginal building dates from 1880-81, was designed by G Tunstall Redmayne. A symmetrical gothic building with central entrance porch and large studio windows. Extended at the back in 1898 (to facilitate its growing popularity and the renewed interest in Arts & Crafts design), the extension is of red brick and was designed by J Gibbons Sankey. A novel geometrically constructed bridge connects the two buildings.
Adjacent, also on Cavendish Street, is the old Chorlton (on Medlock) Town Hall, long part of the Art School and for many years its main refectory. It was designed by Richard Lane around 1830, and is nine bays wide of strict Doric Greek style with triangular pediment and a decorated frieze. Originally symmetrical, though part is now missing due to Second World War bombing.

Wesleyan Theological Institution (Didsbury College of Education)

This fine building, located on Wilmslow Road in Didsbury, has undergone many different transitions and functions, having begun life as a Methodist training college, it later became Didsbury College of Education before being incorporated into the Metropolitan University of Manchester where it is now their Institute of Education, responsible for teacher training.
The original building dates from 1842 and is distinctive for its long stone frontage in a pseudo-Grecian style, eleven bays long and two storeys high, giant pilasters and end pavilions. The central three-storey block was originally the Governor's residence. Long stone built wings behind create a sizeable open courtyard. Further extensions behind the main building in the late 1960s by Francis Jones & Son.

Shirley Institute, ('The Towers'), Didsbury

Shirley Institute, The Towers, Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, Manchester

Originally designed in 1865 for the proprietor and editor of the Manchester Guardian, John Edward Taylor, by Thomas Worthington. The house on Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, is purported to have cost £50,000 - a small fortune at that time. Ironically when it was purchased in 1920 by the British Cotton Industry Research Association it was sold to them for a mere £10,000. It is now a Grade II Listed Building of special architectural interest.
Described by Pevsner as "... grossly picturesque in red brick and red terra cotta" it is an imposing gothic building with an asymmetrically placed porch tower (hence sometimes known as "The Towers"), a polygonal oriel window and spire. It was here that the first Manchester Ship Canal Meeting was held in 1882, and was once the home of the celebrated Manchester engineer, Daniel Adamson. During the First World War the building was used as a recreation centre for wounded soldiers.
The Shirley Institute as such was established in 1919 as the British Cotton Industry Research Association (BCIRA). A significant part of the purchase price was contributed by a cotton spinner and Member of Parliament for Stockport, William Greenwood, who asked that the place be named after his daughter Shirley. The first purpose built laboratories were opened in 1922 by the Duke of York. Other Royal openings on the site took place in 1953 by the Duchess of Kent, 1963 by Princess Margaret and 1990 by the Princess Royal.

Hollings College, Fallowfield

Designed by Manchester city architect, L C Howitt and built between 1957-1960, Hollings College, located on the corner of Wilmslow Road and Old hall Lane, affectionately known as "the Toast-Rack ", is a most distinctive and original 20th century design and local landmark.

Hollings College, Fallowfield - the Toastrack

Originally called the College of Food & Fashion. Its nickname comes from its appearance - a tall and closely set number of parabolic concrete arches with glass infilling. It also has a large circular hall building on the road side (which was at one time also affectionately known as "the poached egg" ).

Manchester Grammar School, Rusholme

The Manchester Grammar School (known locally simply as "MGS"), is located on Old Hall Lane and the main building was designed in 1930 by Francis Jones and Percy Worthington. It had long been one of the UK's leading grammar schools, when it outgrew the original premises on Long Millgate, adjacent to Chethams Library in Manchester city centre. In the mid-1930s it decamped (lock, stock and barrel), to the (then) more spacious campus next to Birchfields Park in Rusholme. The original Long Millgate building is now part of Chetham's Music School.
The present building consists of a large brick built quadrangle approached by a long, (almost triumphal), avenue drive from Old Hall Lane, and entered by a tripartite arch under a clock tower cupola. (The author has many fond memories of time spent teaching in the art studios located above the entrance arch and beneath the clock tower during the late 1960s and early 1970s).
To the east, a second quadrangle leading to the refectory, gymnasium and swimming pool, now contains a much later 1960s built modern masters' common room block. The original old library has excellent wood panelling, as does the Assembly Hall.
Many other outlying additions have been made to the school, but the original building still stands fairly proudly when viewed across the extensive playing fields. A bronze statue of Bishop Hugh Oldham, the school's founder, done by William McMillan stands behind the Lecture Theatre at the Birchfield Park entrance.

Chethams School of Music, Manchester

Chethams School of Music

In 1655 Chetham's Hospital and Chetham's Library were established from monies left by Sir Humphrey Chetham , a wealthy local textile merchant, in his will at his death in 1653. "Chets", (as it is still known) was set up as a charitable free school to provide education for about 40 boys from poor families, who showed aptitude to learn.
Built in red sandstone, like the cathedral, it originally formed dormitories and quarters for cathedral clergy. The buildings, grouped around a central courtyard with a defensive entrance gate, were typical of medieval building style.
From 1547, after the reformation, the premises became the town dwellings of the Earl of Derby. The college was refounded in 1557, but by the time of the outbreak of the Civil Wars, the buildings were in a dilapidated state. Their purchase by Humphrey Chetham almost certainly saved them from demolition. He purchased the lot for �400 just prior to his death.
Chetham's is now a music school for musically gifted young men and women, and attracts young protégés from all over the northwest of England. It still largely maintains the original principle of admitting talented youngsters, and barring none because of financial hardship. The school is well funded and maintains poorer pupils. Lunchtime concerts are held every Wednesday in the Baronial Hall. Concerts can be combined with a guided tour of the school and library. The library, containing a large collection of books, specialises in local history material. In this library, Frederick Engels spent many hours researching for his numerous writings.

Xavarian College, Rusholme/Victoria Park

Located on Lower Park Road, just off Wilmslow Road, Xavarian College began life as a well-to-do villa in the (then) rather smart suburb of Rusholme. This expensive villa was built in 1874-1875 for the Hetherington family by top architect Alfred Waterhouse, who also designed Manchester Town hall. The family wealth came from the construction of Blast Furnaces, which at that time were at the cutting edge of a new technology, and this is reflected in the status of the building, as are many of the surrounding buildings in Victoria Park, which probably contains more of Manchester's Grade II Listed Buildings than any other district - well worth a gentle walk around just to look at these houses of former glory - now predominantly converted into small hotels, guest houses or student accommodation.. Nowadays it is a Roman Catholic Sixth Form College.

Lancashire Independent Congregational College, Whalley Range

Located in College Road, Whalley Range, and now the General & Municipal Boilermakers' Union National College, the former Lancashire Independent College is a Grade II Listed Building which was designed by Irwin and Chester in 1843. It was built specially for the purpose of training Nonconformist Ministers, who because of their religious faith, were denied access to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.
It is a gothic-style stone building with octagonal tower and pinnacles, completed in 1843. Recent refurbishment has converted the building into a residential college for the GMB Union. The entrance gates and octagonal gate piers are in the same style and are also listed buildings. The most prominent building in the district, it lies within the Whalley Range Conservation Area. It is a splendid example of Victorian gothic collegiate style architecture set in 8 acres of its own grounds.

St Bede's College, Alexandra Park

St. Bede's College is an ornate red brick and terra cotta building in the Italianate renaissance style, which incorporates the redundant aquarium building. Designed by Archibald Dunn and Edward J Hansom in 1880, it is a Grade II Listed Building. The eleven bays of the college form an incomplete facade as construction ceased in 1880. A chapel to the rear was added in 1898, followed by several subsequent additions. The three bay porch has coloured tiled reliefs of a majolica type. One of Manchester's notable independent Roman Catholic boys grammar schools.

William Hulme's Grammar School, Whalley Range

William Hulme Grammar School

Located on Springbridge Road in Whalley Range, just off Princess Parkway, William Hulme's Grammar School is an independent co-educational day school for pupils between 11-18 years of age. It was designed by A H Davies-Colley in 1886-1887 as a large high building of red brick and yellow terra cotta. There is a Hall of later date (c.1910) in the same style. Both buildings are strictly symmetrical. The school is named after William Hulme, founder of the William Hulme Charity, who lived at Hulme Hall (later Broadstone Hall) in Reddish, Stockport.

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Copyright © John Moss, Papillon Graphics AD 2013 Manchester, United Kingdom - all rights reserved.
This page last updated 22 Nov 12.