St. George’s House, Manchester

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This interesting building is on Peter Street in Manchester, quite close to the Midland Hotel and the former Free Trade Hall. It looks quite different to the neo-classical, Italianate and neo-gothic buildings in the vicinity.

It was designed by the architectural practice of Woodhouse, Corbett & Dean and constructed between 1907 and 1911. Like many buildings from this period in the north of England, it’s covered with Terracotta bricks and was the first concrete framed building in Manchester. It was originally built to for the YMCA and had a swimming pool on the roof and a running track on the top floor, although according to Pevsner’s architectural guide to Manchester, these were removed when it was converted to offices in the 1990’s.

The building is asymmetrical. There are two rounded projecting bays around a recessed “lunette” on the right hand side. There’s a statue of St George, based on a work by Donatello above the main entrance which is set inside a rounded arch.

2012-09-03 11.36.53

(There’s a better picture of the statue here)

The Manchester coat of arms, in terracotta, is featured towards the top of the building, above St George.

(Picture source: http://www.waymarking.com)

It’s hard to classify the building’s design, but some of the decorative elements are, to me, reminiscent of the Art Nouveau / Jugendstil style which was popular in many cities on the continent during the late 19th and early 20th Century before the First World War. It particularly reminded me of some of the more restrained Jugendstil buildings I saw in Helsinki during my visit last autumn.

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3 thoughts on “St. George’s House, Manchester

    • I’ve been walking past fairly regularly since I was 16 and used to go to concerts at teh Free Trade Hall (now, sadly, turned into a posh hotel) But I really only started noticing it relatively recently when I became more interested in architecture. Isn’t it strange how you often don’t notice something that’s familiar and staring you in the face.

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