Iconic Edwardian fire station set to become luxury hotel
The owner of Manchester’s London Road Fire Station has applied to convert the Grade-II* listed building into a luxury hotel as part of a scheme being given a cautious welcome by the Victorian Society.
The 1906 fire headquarters, which has been described as one of ‘the most interesting historic fire stations in the world', once housed a police station and a coroner's court, as well as around 40 flats where the firemen lived with their families.
As part of the plans many of the building's unusually well-preserved features will be kept; the engine sheds will become function rooms, the historic interior of the building's Coroner's Court will be used as a wedding venue and the old Police Station will be converted into a bar and café, with the cells kept and transformed into small dining booths.
The courtyard at the centre of this familiar Manchester landmark will be glazed over and a former Gas Meter Testing Station on the site will become the hotel's main restaurant. The original fireman's poles which took the men from their living rooms straight down to the engine shed are to be kept and will feature in many of the hotel's 227 rooms.
'We are delighted that such a sensitive approach has been taken with the conversion of one of Manchester's finest historic buildings', said Alex Baldwin, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. 'Decades of underuse mean it is now in a very poor condition and in urgent need of restoration, but once the work is complete it will be the first time in more than 20 years that the public will be able to go inside the fire station and see its historic interior'.
The Victorian Society has written to Manchester City Council to support the scheme. The Society's only concern is with the design of the glass canopy covering the courtyard, which would be better supported by the existing building rather than on large inelegant columns.
Wednesday 14 July, 2010
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