Great Northern Deansgate Warehouse
Deansgate, Castlefield, Manchester
1897 - 1st July 1898
ICE reference number
photo Paul Dunkerley
One of the earliest multi-storey steel-framed buildings in England, and one of only three 3-way warehouses left, i.e., served by road, rail and inland waterway.
Goods were delivered and despatched from the warehouse by rail at both ground and viaduct levels, the warehouse formerly being served by the northernmost of the three viaducts dominating the Castlefield Basin.
Road transport had access at both ground and first floor levels. A tunnel in the basement provided waterway access to the Manchester & Salford Junction Canal. Three upper levels of the building were used for storage. They are now used for car parking.
The five-storey building measures 267ft by 217ft by 75ft high, with red and blue brick exterior walls and four large taking-in doors on the Deansgate side, accessing four hydraulic lifts. The steel construction is best seen at ground level.
The columns are box girders of riveted steel, supporting steel beams and cross girders from which brick arches spring. These support the concrete floors.
Steel and concrete were clearly chosen for their strength across wide spans rather than for their fire-resistant qualities, for the roof of the building makes use of timber support trusses.
The Resident Engineer was W.T. Foxlee on behalf of the successive Chief Engineers of the Great Northern Railway: Richard Johnson and Alexander Ross.
The warehouse is a Grade 2 listed building. The goods yard closed in 1963 and is now an open air car park. Deansgate Victorian Terrace, also listed, between Peter Street and Great Bridgewater Street, is reputedly the longest terrace in the UK. It forms a visual barrier hiding the yard from Deansgate.
Resident engineer: W.T. Foxlee
Main contractor: Robert Neill & Sons (building)
Steelwork: Heenan & Froude, Sir William Arrol & Co, Keay & Sons
Hydraulics: Sir William Armstrong, Whitworth & Co