Piccadilly Gardens
Piccadilly Gardens is a green space in Manchester city centre, England, situated at one end of Market Street (a busy shopping area) and on the edge of the Northern Quarter. Piccadilly runs eastwards from the end of Market Street to a point where London Road begins: to the south of this are the gardens and paved areas.

Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens was from 1755 the site of the Manchester Royal Infirmary though the street it stood on was then called Lever's Row: this continued south-east as Piccadilly. The site was donated by the Lord of the Manor and had previously been called the Daub Holes: these pits had filled with water and they were replaced by a fine ornamental pond. The infirmary occupied the site at Piccadilly from 1755 to 1910 (when it moved to its current site on Oxford Road); the lowered area (as before 2000) of the gardens arose from the hospital's basement. Next to the Infirmary was the Lunatic Asylum which was in the year 1849 removed to Cheadle, Cheshire. In 1914 the infirmary had been fully removed from the site, and after several years in which the City Council tried to decide how to develop the site, it ended up being left and made into the largest open green space in the city centre. The Manchester Public Free Library Reference Department was housed on the site for a number of years before the move to Manchester Central Library. The square at Piccadilly Gardens has been for many years the central hub of Manchester's public transport system. The square is only five minutes' walk from the mainline Manchester Piccadilly railway station and 10 minutes walk from Manchester Victoria railway station. As part of the ongoing, post-IRA bomb regeneration of the city centre, the city council had set up an international competition for the redesign of Piccadilly Gardens. The winners ”“ announced in 1998 from a short-list that had been whittled down to six ”“ were the landscape architects EDAW and its partners, consisting of: the engineers Arup; renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando; local architects Chapman Robinson; and lighting engineer, Peter Fink. The square was finally revamped in 2001 ”“ 2002, to include new green space and fountains (by EDAW), and a pavilion (by Tadao Ando) which partially functions to shield the gardens from the transport interchange. The resulting space was radically different from the old gardens, and the only links to the past that remained were the original statues. The redesign was part of the massive construction process that covered Manchester in the build up to the city hosting the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Previously the square was becoming increasingly run down and was considered unsafe. At a contract cost of around £10 million Piccadilly Gardens was renovated and ended up being shortlisted in 2003 for the Better Public Building Award. Part of the area was built on.

Piccadilly Gardens has a major public transport interchange where buses and trams can be caught. There is a Metrolink tram stop with trams on both of Manchester's lines stopping there. There is also a bus station south of the "gardens" area and many more bus stops in the nearby streets. Information on Manchester's transport system can be requested at the GMPTE travelshop located next to the tram stop.

Buildings and statues
The square is surrounded by buildings that cover the ages of modern Manchester. From old Victorian warehouses and shops dating from the Industrial Revolution and Manchester's role as the cotton marketing capital to the new office block development which is part of the 21st century regeneration of the square. The building that visitors are likely to notice first is the huge complex of Piccadilly Plaza which stands over Piccadilly. It is a building that will invoke mixed emotions in most people.

Piccadilly Plaza
Piccadilly Plaza was originally built by Covell Matthews and Partners from 1959 to 1965 and has been recently re-modelled by Leslie Jones Architects in 2001 (this mainly involved replacing the old Chinese style-roofed towers of Eagle Star House at the northern end). The building although not fitting in (or showing any sympathy) with its surroundings impresses some with its 1960s sci-fi look. Piccadilly Plaza contains the renovated & re-named Ramada Manchester Piccadilly (formerly known as the Jarvis Piccadilly Hotel): the refurbishment was completed in 2008. The huge tower block was renamed City Tower. In 2005 the Plaza is undergoing large-scale remodelling with recladding of the tower and cleaning of concrete facades. The whole complex has benefitted from increased investment from Bruntwood Ltd, which bought Piccadilly Plaza in 2004/05, and now several retail outlets on ground level, and large office space on the levels above (once the home of Piccadilly Radio) are available.

Thistle and Britannia Hotels
The impressive Thistle Hotel stands on the south-eastern side of Piccadilly Gardens, which is now unfortunately partly obscured by the new office block. The hotel was originally three cotton warehouses (with a fourth standing to the left) which made up the four warehouses designed by Edward Walters between 1851 and 1858. Also, there is the Grade II listed Britannia Hotel on Portland Street which was formerly the largest of Manchester warehouses: Watts Warehouse (architects Travis & Mangnall).

Listed buildings around Piccadilly Gardens
  • 1. Grade II listed on 3 October 1974.
  • 12 Mosley Street. (Barclays Bank) Grade II Listed on 20 June 1988. .Architect Thomas Worthington (1826”“1909) born in Salford. Thomas Worthington was the architect for the Albert Memorial (for Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) which stands in front of the Manchester Town Hall in Albert Square.
  • 15 & 17. (including Nos 1-3 Oldham Street). Grade II listed on 20 June 1988. Architect Royle & Bennett
  • 38-50. Joshua Hoyle Building & Roby House. Grade II listed on 17 July 1987. Now converted into the Malmaison Hotel
  • 47. Grade II listed on 6 June 1994.
  • 49. Grade II listed on 6 June 1994.
  • 51 & 53. Grade II listed on 6 June 1994.
  • 59 & 61, Clayton House. Grade II listed on 6 June 1994.
  • 69-75. Hall's Buildings. Grade II listed on 20 June 1988.
  • 77-83. Grade II listed on 20 June 1988.
  • 97. Brunswick Hotel (includes 2 & 4 Paton Street). Grade II listed on 3 October 1974.
  • 107. Grade II listed on 3 October 1974.
  • 1. Tib Street, corner of Piccadilly, 1879. Grade II listed. Architect James Lynde.
In addition to the many listed buildings that stand around Piccadilly Gardens there are also numerous statues:
  • Sir Robert Peel statue, Grade II listed on 3 October 1974.
  • James Watt statue, Grade II listed on 3 October 1974.
  • Edward Onslow Ford's Queen Victoria Monument. Grade II listed on 3 October 1974.
  • Duke of Wellington statue. Grade II listed on 3 October 1974.
These four stand on what was the esplanade of the Infirmary and were erected at different times before the move to Oxford Road. The first was Peel's statue in 1853 and the last Queen Victoria's which came after her death.

  • Kidd, Alan Manchester ISBN 978-0-7486-1551-3

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