Great Northern?


Contrast between old & new in the Great Northern quarter of Manchester.

The Great Northern Warehouse and its environs was historically a transport interchange for the massive volume of goods arriving by rail at Central Station – now Manchester Central – in Manchester.

When building work began in 1885, the railways were booming. In fact, the railways did more to clear Manchester’s fever dens than any social legislation. In order to build the Great Northern Warehouse – nine acres of streets, back-to-back houses, foundries, hotels, inns, a burial ground and a school were swept away.

The Warehouse was completed in August 1899 but operations started in July 1898 when only the ground and first floors were complete such was the demand for the goods station. Inside was a spaghetti junction of rail lines with five platforms and twenty five cranes. To facilitate the movement of goods, wagon turntables were incorporated at the end of the lines to allow wagons to be turned round. The Manchester and Salford Junction canal, constructed in 1939, ran under the Warehouse, passing through a specially-built dock.

After several decades of decline in the railways and the fall of the Beeching axe, the Warehouse was closed for good in 1963.

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