PRESS RELEASE: SAVE highlights 18 threatened buildings in Manchester, Oldham and Rochdale

Theatres, churches and warehouses added to SAVE Britain's Heritage's Buildings at Risk register today

3rd November, 2023

SAVE Britain’s Heritage is today adding 18 fantastic historic buildings in Greater Manchester to our Buildings at Risk register.

The buildings, located across the city centre, Oldham and Rochdale, were all identified as being under threat by SAVE during the research for our newest report, Boom not Bust: How Greater Manchester can build the future without destroying its past.

The buildings include former theatres, churches, bars, industrial buildings including weavers’ workshops and a ‘ragged school’. All are at risk of dereliction or demolition, avoidable outcomes which would rob their communities of local landmarks that connect them to their past and which hold the key to economic and social revival if restored and reused.

By adding them to our Buildings at Risk register (BaR), SAVE is bringing national attention to their plight and the opportunities they offer.

Henrietta Billings, director of SAVE Britain's Heritage, said: "The bricks and mortar of these buildings hold precious stories about the people of Manchester and this region’s world-famous industrial and social history. Following on from our recent report “Boom not Bust” we are adding 18 threatened buildings to our SAVE Britain’s Heritage Buildings at Risk register to bring them to national attention and focus. With imagination, determination and political will, they can be part of Greater Manchester's future not just its past."

Highlights below. Full list of new entries here.

Former Theatre Royal, Peter Street, Manchester, M2 3NQ: On a street full of eye-catching listed buildings, the grade II former Theatre Royal more than holds its own with a grand porticoed front. The Theatres Trust (on whose at-risk register this also sits) describes the façade as “one of the finest examples of theatre architecture to have survived in Britain from the first half of the 19th century”. It is Manchester’s oldest theatre having been built in 1845. 

Charter Street Ragged School, 142 Dantzic Street, Manchester, M4 4DN: Built in 1892 by the same firm that was responsible for the Blackpool Tower, this grade II-listed building is a “rare and relatively early” example of the social provision for girls by providing safe accommodation, unusually combined with a ragged school. It is a fascinating and unusual building which sits almost wedged under a railway bridge, making it easy to conjure a picture of its original life in an area which was known as one of the most deprived in Manchester.

Particular Baptist Chapel, Rochdale Road, M4 4TG: A noteworthy building on this stretch of road, this unlisted 1907 church’s homely bulk is a somewhat forlorn sight. All around it new-build blocks proliferate. Its brick form is enlivened by terracotta decoration in Art Nouveau style. The building is disused but could surely find some kind of community or commercial function.

Marsden Harcombe and Co, Marshall Street, Manchester, M4 5FU: For lovers of industrial architecture, and warehouses in particular, this nicely proportioned and well-designed block is a huge treat.  Built in 1934, it has an Art Deco style entrance door framed in deliciously eye-catching green glazed tiles. It stands among large gap sites, interspersed with new residential blocks and other tantalising but moldering ex-industrial buildings. Bringing back these vestiges of the commercial past into use is the only way to capture the defining industrial character of this neighbourhood, without which it is just another shabby street.


Hill Stores (Oldham Equitable Co-operative Society) 146-148 Huddersfield Road, Oldham, OL4 2RD: Originally featuring an impressive range of stores including drapery, furnishings, gentlemen’s outfitting, a butcher and a grocery department this grade II-listed hall built in 1900 also housed offices, board rooms and an educational department which contained a newsroom and library. The building also contained two ballrooms, with the largest able to seat 1,000 people. It needs a comprehensive reuse plan.

Former Grand Theatre, 51-53 King Street, Oldham, OL8 1EU: This distinctive former theatre in Oldham was opened in 1908. It has served as a cinema, ballroom, bowling alley, nightclub and snooker club and closed in 2008 with a threat of demolition looming. Despite that it became a Roller Derby venue, but they rolled on in 2020 and the threat of demolition looms again.


Kingsway Hotel, 145 Kingsway, Rochdale, OL16 5HS: Opened in 1938 by Rochdale & Manor Brewery Limited, the pub retains many of its original 1930s interiors including the revolving door, making it of particular importance to the heritage of Rochdale. Sadly, the pub closed in 2018 and has been left unused since, putting it at risk of gradual decline. 



SAVE's Buildings at Risk register

SAVE’s Buildings at Risk register is in its 34th year and exists to bring disused historic buildings of all ages which could be repurposed to national attention.  There are already 16 buildings in Manchester, Oldham and Rochdale on the register.

The register is a national platform for raising awareness of neglected historic buildings and advocating their reuse as a means to ensure their survival. At a time when not wasting embodied carbon is high on the nation's agenda, finding sustainable new uses for historic buildings could not be more important.


Boom not Bust

SAVE's latest report, Boom not Bust: How Greater Manchester can build the future without destroying its past, was launched in Manchester last month. It takes a close look at the centres of Manchester, Oldham and Rochdale as a way of shining a spotlight on the heritage of the wider region. It flags historically or architecturally significant buildings that deserve greater recognition or rescue. All that were eligible to be added to the BaR register have now been added.

The 60-page report, which is available to buy, also gives examples of buildings that have been successfully adapted for 21st-century use, some of them brought back from the brink.

More details of the buildings and photos appear on SAVE's Buildings at Risk register which is available to SAVE supporters. Become our Friend or Saviour.

Notes to editors:

1. For more information contact Elizabeth Hopkirk:

2. Full list of new BaR entries, including photographs and background. Entry details correct at time of writing. We welcome update information. For more information on the BaR contact Liz Fuller, SAVE's Buildings at Risk officer:

3. SAVE Britain's Heritage is a strong, independent voice in conservation that fights for threatened historic buildings and sustainable reuses. Uniquely we bring together architects, engineers, planners and investors to offer viable alternative proposals. Where necessary, and with expert advice, we take legal action to prevent major and needless losses.

4. Order copies of Boom not Bust.

5. Join our free mailing list or support our work.

6. Read about our latest campaigns around the country.