Piccadilly Gardens

Piccadilly Gardens

Piccadilly Gardens is a green space in Manchester city centre, England, situated at one end of Market Street (a busy shopping area) and on the edge of the Northern Quarter.


Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens was the original site of the Manchester Royal Infirmary. The infirmary occupied the site at Piccadilly from 1752 to 1910 (when it moved to its current site on Oxford Road); the lowered area (as before 2000) of the gardens arose from the hospital's basement. In 1914 the infirmary had been fully removed from the site, and after several years of trying to decide how to develop the site, it ended up being left and made into Manchester's largest open inner city green space.

The square at Piccadilly Gardens is currently the central hub of Manchester's public transport system. The square is only 5 minutes' walk from the mainline Manchester Piccadilly railway station and 10 minutes walk from Manchester Victoria railway station.

As part of the ongoing, post-IRA bomb regeneration of the city centre, the city council had set up an international competition for the redesign of Piccadilly Gardens. The winners – announced in 1998 from a short-list that had been whittled down to six – were the landscape architects EDAW and its partners, consisting of: the engineers Arup; renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando; local architects Chapman Robinson; and lighting engineer, Peter Fink. [cite web |url=http://www.cabe.org.uk/default.aspx?contentitemid=261&aspectid=6 |title=Piccadilly Gardens (design process) |accessdate=2008-06-28 |publisher=Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) ] The square was finally revamped in 2001 – 2002, to include new green space and fountains (by EDAW), and a pavilion (by Tadao Ando) which partially functions to shield the gardens from the transport interchange. The resulting space was radically different from the old gardens, and the only links to the past that remained were the original statues. The redesign was part of the massive construction process that covered Manchester in the build up to the city hosting the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Previously the square was becoming increasingly run down and was considered unsafe. [cite web |url=http://www.rudi.net/pages/17390 |title=Manchester city centre regeneration (EDAW) |accessdate=2008-06-28 |publisher=Resource for Urban Design Information (RUDI) ] At a contract cost of around £10 million Piccadilly Gardens was renovated and ended up being shortlisted in 2003 for the Better Public Building Award.


Piccadilly Gardens has a major public transport interchange where buses and trams can be caught. There is a Metrolink tram stop with trams on both of Manchester's lines stopping there. There is also a bus station located in the gardens. Information on Manchester's transport system can be requested at the GMPTE travelshop located next to the tram stop.

Listed buildings and statues

The square is surrounded by buildings that cover the ages of modern Manchester. From old Victorian warehouses and shops dating from the Industrial Revolution and Manchester's role as the cotton marketing capital to the new visually un-stimulating office block development which is part of Piccadilly Garden's regeneration. The building that visitors are likely to notice first is the huge complex of Piccadilly Plaza which stands over Piccadilly. It is a building that will invoke mixed emotions in most people.

Piccadilly Plaza was originally built by Covell Matthews and Partners from 1959 to 1965 and has been recently re-modeled by Leslie Jones Architects in 2001 (this mainly involved replacing the old Chinese styled towers at the northern end). The building although not fitting in (or showing any sympathy) with its surroundings impresses with its 1960s sci-fi look. Piccadilly Plaza contains the Jarvis Piccadilly Hotel. The huge tower block, now renamed City Tower. As of 2005 the Plaza is undergoing large-scale remodelling with recladding of the tower and cleaning of concrete facades.

The impressive Thistle Hotel stands on the south-eastern side of Piccadilly Gardens, which is now unfortunately partly obscured by the new office block. The hotel was originally 3 cotton warehouses (with a fourth standing to the left) which made up the four warehouses designed by Edward Walters between 1851 and 1858. Also, there is the Grade II listed Britannia Hotel on Portland Street which was formally the architecturally renowned Watts Warehouse.

Other listed buildings around Piccadilly Gardens are:

*1. Grade II listed on 3 October 1974.
*12. (Barclays Bank) Grade II Listed on 20 June 1988. . Architect Thomas Worthington (1826 - 1909) born in Salford. Thomas Worthington was the architect for the Albert Memorial (for Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) which stands in front of the Manchester Town Hall in Albert Square.
*15 & 17. (including Nos 1-3 Oldham Street). Grade II listed on 20 June 1988. Architect Royle & Bennett
*38-50. Joshua Hoyle Building & Roby House. Grade II listed on 17 July 1987. Now converted into the Malmaison Hotel
*47. Grade II listed on 6 June 1994.
*49. Grade II listed on 6 June 1994.
*51 & 53. Grade II listed on 6 June 1994.
*59 & 61, Clayton House. Grade II listed on 6 June 1994.
*69-75. Hall's Buildings. Grade II listed on 20 June 1988.
*77-83. Grade II listed on 20 June 1988.
*97. Brunswick Hotel (includes 2 & 4 Paton Street). Grade II listed on 3 October 1974.
*107. Grade II listed on 3 October 1974.
*1. Tib Street, corner of Piccadilly, 1879. Grade II listed. Architect James Lynde.

In addition to the many listed buildings that stand around Piccadilly Gardens there are also numerous statues:

*Sir Robert Peel statue, Grade II listed on 3 October 1974.
*James Watt statue, Grade II listed on 3 October 1974.
*Edward Onslow Ford’s Queen Victoria Monument. Grade II listed on 3 October 1974.
*Duke of Wellington statue. Grade II listed on 3 October 1974.


* Manchester by Alan Kidd ISBN 978-0-7486-1551-3


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