Monday, 13 April 2015

What did Century House do to so upset people?

All that is left of Century House, 2015
Now I wonder just what Century House on the corner of St Peter’s Square did to upset anybody?

It was a fine neo classical building of Portland stone which fitted nicely across the road from the Town Hall extension and Central Ref.

It was built in 1934 for the Friends Provident Society and for me was everything you could want from a building.

It was elegant and stylish and was not one of those buildings which got in your face or made you feel insignificant as it soared brutally into the sky.

Century House, 1940
Of course there will be those that argue that was exactly why it had to go, and certainly it looked out of place beside that brash structure that has been built opposite the library.

Not that they need to worry.

The artist’s impression shows a big box standing above a glass space.*

And now there is little left of Century House.

It came close to being listed and was described by English Heritage as “a prominent building which is of strong local interest.”**

I am told the new building may be up before the end of the year, and I may change my mind about its design when it is finished.

But in the meantime I look again at the pictures of the building when it was still new and reflect also on the many times that I passed the place and  I rather think that however big shinny and busy its replacement becomes  it will not replace my affection for Century House.
Century House in the sun, 1957

We shall see.

Pictures; Century House, 1940, m56165, and 1957 H Milligan, m04427, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, and all that is left of Century House, 2015 from the collection of Andrew Simpson

* Done brothers' property firm submits plans for £80m city centre building, Adam Jupp, MEN, May 2013,

**English Heritage Assessment Report no 475783 November 28 2012, quoted from 20th Century Society, News Claire Price,

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