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Britannia Manchester Hotel
Portland Street, Manchester, UK
Britannia Manchester Hotel
associated engineer
Not known
date  1851 - 1858
era  Victorian  |  category  Building  |  reference  SJ842980
photo  Paul Dunkerley / ICE R&D Fund
Several warehouses in Manchester were constructed in grand, mostly Italianate, style — displaying the wealth of the growing city. This former textile warehouse is one of them. It housed the world's first ‘cash and carry' wholesale business. Originally known as Watts Warehouse, it is now the Britannia Manchester Hotel.
The ground floor level is raised above street level, allowing light into the basement. Above are five main floors, with four pavilions set symmetrically on the roof. Each pavilion has a row of Gothic rose windows along each elevation.
The three street sandstone façades are very grand, with each floor showing the influence of a different architectural style: Italian Renaissance, Elizabethan, French Renaissance and Flemish. By contrast, the rear of the building is plain brick and not intended for public view. Inside, a balconied stair runs up through the building. The structure contains some 5,690 tonnes of stone, 710 tonnes of iron, 2,510 sq m of glass and 1,130 cu m of timber.
The warehouse avoided demolition in 1972 and is now a Grade II listed building. It has been converted into the 363-bedroom Britannia Manchester Hotel.
Architect: Magnell & Travis
Research: PD
"A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Greater Manchester”
by Robina McNeil and Michael Nevell
Association for Industrial Archaeology, 2000

Britannia Manchester Hotel