We all know Manchester has plenty of new contemporary developments being built at a rate of knots, (ours included!) however, we thought it’d be nice to give some kudos to the buildings across the city that have been in situ for centuries.
Summer weekends are the perfect time to be a tourist in your own city, and you’ll be surprised how much you learn along the way. Explore our top 5 suggestions this week in order to call yourself a true Manc, whilst further understanding the cities heritage and catching a tan whilst you’re at it.
Conveniently located near Victoria Station, this gorgeous sandstone building dates back to 1421 and has been in continuous use as a public library for an impressive 350 years. It was originally built to accommodate the priests of Manchester’s Collegiate Church and is now home to an enormous collection of books, photography, and manuscripts. We highly recommend booking the tour which showcases each of the medieval buildings, as well as a curated view of items from their collection.
Situated slightly further out of the city centre is The Monastery, a striking Grade-II listed building that Franciscan Friars took a decade to build. It’s said to also have been built on a powerful ley line which is why this place was chosen. The original Monastery has recently been renovated and also had an imposing additional £3m new wing built which will be the base for community and corporate events. There are various tours, talks and events held here, which are all listed and bookable on their website.
Standing proudly in the city centre right near Selfridges, is the cathedral – which started life in the 7th century as a relatively small church, which has undergone major expansion since its origin. It has suffered significant damage, notably by the Danes and more recently German and IRA Bombings, but it still remains one of the most famous jewels in Manchester’s architectural history. Today, the cathedral is open all year round with free entry and you can even enjoy an afternoon tea in the café on site.
On the edge of St Peters Square is the iconic neo-gothic town hall, that was built in 1868 and is known throughout the UK as one of the most important Grade-I listed buildings. The exterior of the building has a few sculptures worth noting, including Henry the third, Elisabeth the 1st, and the Roman General Agricola who founded Mamucium (a Roman Fort in what is now Castlefield). Built into one of the 280-foot turrets is the clock tower, and the clock itself was started on New Years Day 1879. On each of the three clock faces is the inscription ‘Teach us to number our Days’ and there are a massive 24 bells in the tower, so you’re sure not to miss its chimes.
Known as the oldest building in Salford, this Grade-I listed building dates back over 820 years and was held as the seat of the Radclyffe family for over 300 years. Inspiring literature, Ordsall Hall was the setting for William Ainsworth’s 1842 novel Guy Fawkes, which claims that the infamous gunpowder plot of 1605 was planned in the house. Today you can visit for guided tours of the building and grounds, and even tune in to their Ghost Cams to spot the famous ghouls that are said to walk the halls…
We’ve only briefly covered a few here, and there are honestly hundreds of buildings we love which are steeped in history throughout Manchester, with amazing architecture and are well worth your time… So get googling! And as usual, do let us know where you’d recommend via our social channels.