Building Name

Court House and Police Court Manchester

Central, Manchester
GMCA, England
Manchester General Purposes Committee
Architectural Competition
Unplaced entry

A confusing series of committee meetings, eventually resulting in an architectural competition.

PROPOSED COURT-HOUSE, MANCHESTER - At the last meeting of the Manchester General Purposes Committee, the principal business related to the new Court-house for the city which it has been determined to erect. The building in Bridge-street is very inconvenient; and for the courts of record and quarter sessions the Corporation use the Assize Courts, and pay £9001. a year for the accommodation. Two sites for the new building had been selected, in Lower King-street and in Minshull-street, Portland street. The latter was preferred, and the names of six architects were chosen from whom the final choice was to be made. A majority of the Committee was in favour of Messrs Mangnall and Littlewood, who will therefore prepare the designs, and under their superintendence the Court-house will be erected. The cost is not to exceed £25,000, and the building will contain four court rooms, besides other necessary offices. [Builder 8 June 1867 page 415

 MANCHESTER POLICE COURTS COMPETITION -The committee for general purposes had resolved —

"That it is undesirable to incur any unnecessary expenditure in the external elevation of the intended new police-courts, and that it be suggested that the amount to be expanded shall not exceed the sum of £25,000." "That in order to save trouble, and to prevent unnecessary delay in the erection of the courts, it be recommended to the committee for general purposes to select an architect to prepare plans for, and superintend the erection of, the courts, on any site which may be selected by the corporation." "That it be recommended to the committee to select one of the undermentioned architects to prepare plans and superintend the erection of the new police-courts:—Messrs. Clegg & Knowles, Messrs Mangnall & Littlewood, Mr Salomons, Messrs Speakman & Charlesworth, Mr Waterhouse, and Mr Worthington."  And further, as we stated last week,— "That Messrs Mangnail and Littlewood be employed to prepare plans for, and to superintend the erection of, the new police-courts."

Six days later the same gentlemen, under the name of the Council, met at the same place and upset their previous resolution, passing an amendment throwing the selection of architect open to competition between the architects named, by a majority of 34 to 17. Councillor Woodward proposed that the competition be thrown open to the whole of the architects of the city of Manchester. The amendment was seconded by Councillor Townsend, but was negatived, and the proceedings of the committee, with the exceptions referred to, were approved. It was resolved that the sum of £50 be paid to each architect from whom complete plans might be received, such premium to form a portion of the commission to be ultimately paid to the successful competitor. The reason given by the members of the committee who voted against their first recommendation is, that the votes on the first occasion were not correctly taken, although this is denied.

We should mention that the police-court was formerly held in the upper portion of the post-office premises in Brown-street. On the failure of the post-office authorities to satisfy the Manchester people as to a site for a new post-office, they determined to enlarge the old one by taking in the police courts, which were then removed into Bridge-street, a large shop or bazaar formerly occupied by Falkner, Brothers, drapers, being adapted for the purpose. The corporation has also had to rent rooms from the county magistrates, in the assize courts, for business connected with the " city sessions," and the new courts are for the purpose of concentrating the municipal business under one roof. [15 June 1867 page 434]