Piccadilly Station is one of the busiest in the country linking Manchester to the big cities across the country (3 leave for London every hour) and coping with a huge number of commuter trains. Millions of people pass through every year. Trains are having a bit of a golden age at the moment. More and more people are using them and huge amounts of money are being spent on the infrastructure. 

The last time the trains were as busy as this was the early 20th century. At that point Piccadilly was so busy that an overspill station was built across Fairfield Street called Mayfield Station. It was opened in 1910, sadly after the great age of the Victorian railway building. It’s a functional building without a glorious roof  like you see across the street in Piccadilly. From 1910 to 1960 is was a passenger station. After 1960 it became a goods station. It closed permanently in 1986 when Manchester was in serious decline and railways were giving way to cars. 

Over the last few decades it has been falling into decrepitude. Various schemes have been put forward to revive the building but none have come to fruition. It does occupy a huge site on the edge of the city centre and the developers are circling again. There was a plan for some London based government offices to move up to the site. The recession saw that off, but it’s been revived again. Occasionally it does get used for an arts use. Manchester International Festival used part of it a couple of years ago. And super club, The Warehouse Project, have used it. 

It’s not a thing of beauty as it is. Even cleaned up it’s not one of the city’s great architectural masterpieces. But it would be a shame to lose the more attractive parts. If the area is going to become a glass version of Whitehall, it would be good to incorporate some of the older buildings on the site. And somewhere round here they plan to create a huge, new station of the High Speed trains that are planned. 

The Star and Garter, next door, is a grand, Victorian pub. It must have been very busy when the station was working. It’s now a music venue for up and coming musicians in the city. It’s under threat of demolition along with the station. We will see. 

Behind the Mayfield Station building this little village of street food vendors has set up in a series of old shipping containers. It’s a cool idea. I’ve seen it happen in London. They are planning one for near the old BBC site on Oxford Road. That area, on Oxford Road with masses of passing footfall from the Universities into the city centre will work. This one felt a little isolated but people were there enjoying it. I liked the doggie bar with vegan treats.

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