This World Heritage Day, we’re celebrating the incredible history of one of our projects, Peelers Yard. We are proud of our dedication to preserving and celebrating the historical character of our properties.
Peelers Yard, a grade II listed building located in New Cross has long been left as a derelict site. If it wasn’t for the original chimney that acts as a beacon you could easily walk by the structure.
From 1820, the area of New Cross and the surrounding area developed rapidly. This development brought sellers, businesses and new transport links. A boom in the industry, subsequently brought an increase in population, all of which needed policing. In 1870 J.G.Lynde, who designed several police stations around Manchester, designed the Goulden Street Police Station. The station, which opened in 1872, was created to protect Ancoats, a notoriously lawless area. Lynde’s previous designs were usually in a Gothic style but Ancoats needed something more akin to a fortress. The result is a unique and forceful monumental design. To the street, a high windowless façade has a giant blind arcade topped by a pediment, all in stone. The rest is brick.
The complex included stables and within the courtyard is the tall chimney where mounted police were stationed. As well as the police, the fire brigade were stationed here. Ambulances were also operated by police on site. By 1920, the fire brigade had moved to their new station, and Peelers Yard was handed over to the police.
Around this time, the boom of economic activity had settled and started to diminish. This was mainly due to the decline of the cotton industry in the 1930s. The industry further declined and housing deteriorated further into slums amongst the derelict factories. New Cross, as a neighbourhood, fell into a state of ruin, and many cotton mills had become derelict as a consequence of cotton processing and trading continuing to decline after the second world war.
In 1992 the building was awarded a Grade II listing however by 2002, the building was used as a firework store which eventually led to the property suffering severe damage from a fire leaving only the chimney and the surrounding walls standing.
We recognised that the Goulden Street Fire and Police Station is a truly unique building worthy of preservation and restoration.
The construction of Peelers Yard will deliver a long-lost neighbourhood feel to one of Manchester’s most historic sites. The development of Peelers Yard has been designed so the chimney, easily the most prominent feature on the site, will retain its integrity but it’s been adapted to have a modern element. A ‘lantern’ on the top of the existing structure, helping to reinforce the site’s heritage and bringing the structure in line with the area’s regeneration.
But this is not the only original feature of the site that will be restored and celebrated. A 6-meter-high sandstone ashlar defensive wall encases the courtyard and highlights the original entrance to the site, which will once again be used as the main entry point. There is also a row of original cast iron columns along what would have originally been Bennet Street. We will be removing the walls between these, restoring the columns and celebrating them as architectural features across the site.
Find out more about Peelers Yard here.
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