Thursday, 9 June 2016

Back in the Corn Exchange on Exchange Square ........ what a difference a year makes

Now there will be many like me who remember the Corn Exchange as an Aladdin’s Cave of interesting shops.

Inside the Corn Exchange in 2016
Many more will have memories of the place when it offered posh frocks expensive jumpers and a deal of sportswear.*

And then it closed and I just forgot about it.

It is a listed grade II building and was originally the Corn and Produce Exchange built in 1897 and opened in 1903.

Its role as an important centre for business suffered during the 1920 and 30s and by the time I arrived in Manchester in 1969 its role as a trading floor were over.

But I remember it as a place full of independent traders ranging from second records and comics to clothes and jewellery.

You could spend hours wandering the stalls on the trading floor and in the surrounding rooms, but that IRA bomb did for all this.

The building was severely damaged and many of the traders relocated to what has become the Northern Quarter, and the building was redeveloped as the Triangle specializing in swish retailing, but it never seemed as busy in later years, and despite a rebranding in 2012 closed at the beginning of the year.

Inside the Corn Exchange in 2015
And yesterday I went back drawn by a recommendation of one of our lads who said we should eat at Vapiano which we did.

And here I have to sound very pretentious because it reminded us of an Italian chain of restraints called Ciao which served high quality food cooked in front of you.  The food was cheap and there was an amazing variety of fresh and interesting things to choose from.

But enough of Italy, we were in the Corn Exchange and in the space of less than a year it has reinvented itself, with a series of fascinating restraints.

Sometime before the posh frocks and expensive jumpers
My only regret is the loss of that futuristic bit of steel and glass which dominated the centre of the hall.
I fear that is now on a scrap heap.

But the memories began flooding back.  John Cassey offered up this image of that time before posh frocks expensive jumpers adding "I spent many lunch hours in there browsing the stalls, but that photo was taken from outside the second-hand camera shop"

He thought it might date from the 70s but Paul spotted the the Duran Duran record and suggested 1989.

All of which left George to show me a picture of some of the original tiles, commenting "I think they have brilliantly brought a disused building back to life. And there are still some fine features left, this is the stairs in the Cosy Club bar." 

Location; Exchange Square, Manchester

Pictures; the Corn Exchange, now and then from the collection of Andrew Simpson,  John Casey and George Edwards

*What we have lost ....... inside the Corn Exchange,

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