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31 and 33, King Street West

A Grade II Listed Building in Manchester, Manchester

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Latitude: 53.4818 / 53°28'54"N

Longitude: -2.2498 / 2°14'59"W

OS Eastings: 383518

OS Northings: 398375

OS Grid: SJ835983

Mapcode National: GBR DHG.JV

Mapcode Global: WHB9G.DRW3

Plus Code: 9C5VFQJ2+P3

Entry Name: 31 and 33, King Street West

Listing Date: 3 October 1974

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1282988

English Heritage Legacy ID: 388252

Location: Manchester, M3

County: Manchester

Electoral Ward/Division: City Centre

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Manchester

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater Manchester

Church of England Parish: Manchester St Ann

Church of England Diocese: Manchester

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Coach works of approximately 1840, enhanced with showroom of 1849 and with major alterations in 1926 and repair after the Second World War; and a commercial warehouse of 1855, with some alterations.


Carriage manufactory of approximately 1840, enhanced with a showroom of 1849 and with major alterations in 1926 and repair after the Second World War, and a commercial warehouse of 1855, with some alterations.
MATERIALS: red brick and orange brick, buff sandstone, blue slate, steel and concrete frames.

PLAN: broadly trapezoid around a central courtyard.

EXTERIOR: forming a corner site at the far west end of King Street West, at the western entrance into the Parsonage Gardens Conservation Area. Somewhat overshadowed by the multi-storey car park to the north and east and by tall buildings to the west (outside the conservation area), but complemented by the adjacent 3 St Mary’s Parsonage, to which it is currently (2020) linked by a short bridge (not included in the listing).

The (south) front façade is a three-storey, orange-brick block of eight bays, divided into three sections. The ground floor has modern shopfronts and signage, and rusticated render, and is surmounted by a moulded timber cornice. The upper floors are divided 3-2-3, with central pediment over twin plain stone pilasters, and rusticated, fielded stone quoins. The lower seven quoins, and bottom section of the pilasters, are of render. The brick is in Flemish bond, with redder bricks in the courses corresponding with the rendered dressings. The whole has a plain frieze over, and a prominent, moulded dentilled cornice, also with dentilling in the pediment. Set back at the left, above a three-storey retail and office unit (not included in the listing) can be seen the gablet with arched attic window of the workshop range, and the hipped roof of the 1926 stair-and-lift tower*.

Windows are vertical sliding sashes, without horns at the first floor and with horns at the second floor. All have stone sills. The outer windows are of 12-over-12 panes at first floor and eight-over-eight panes at second floor. The central pair have (first floor) nine-over-nine panes, with the smaller upper panes subdivided, to a different design in each window. At second floor they are six-over-six panes. The first-floor openings have (outer sections) segmental stone heads with keystones and (central section) eared stone architraves.

The east façade has a one-bay return of the same design as the front; the lower window has a bottom sash of only two panes. A further three bays of three storeys are in a dark-red brick laid in stretcher bond. The ground floor has modern windows with roller shutters, the right-hand opening being blocked with brick through which a steel commercial flue emerges to rise up to the roof. The first floor has sash windows with two panes per sash, the upper panes altered for ventilation; the right-hand window retains an early 12-pane bottom sash. The second-floor windows have two-over-two sashes with horns. Different colours of brick indicate rebuilding and altering the openings. All sills are stone, ground-floor heads are segmental and brick, first-floor segmental heads are stone, and second-floor lintels are render panels extending through a deep, two-stepped eaves band of brick. The projecting stone gutter is lead-lined.

Further right again, number 3 Smithy Lane is of four storeys and seven bays, of red brick in English bond with a rusticated, rock-faced plinth. Basement lights in the plinth are blocked with render matching the appearance of the stone (all painted white). The three-stepped entrance is in bay 3, with double doors with raised and fielded panels, and a semi-circular fanlight. The entrance has a rusticated stone surround with voussoirs, also painted. The plinth is defined by a ground-floor sill band. Windows are all vertical-sliding sashes without horns, with gauged-brick arches. The ground-floor are all two-over-two panes, those above all three-over-three panes. The second and third floors have loading doors in bay 1. The eaves have twin projecting bands with cogging between, and a small parapet.

The north wall (facing Garden Lane) is all of brick, laid in English Garden Wall bond with five courses of stretchers between header courses, and also with blocked basement windows. It is six bays wide, extending as far as a gable which projects through the slate roof and its clay ridge tiles. The gable and parapet have plain, stone copings. The right-hand bay has a basket-arched carriage gateway with alternating stone quoins and voussoirs, and a modern timber gate. This bay has two windows per floor. All windows have stone sills and segmental brick arches, and are of three-over-three panes, and progressively shorter on successive floors.

To the right of this is the north wall of the former workshop range, partially-obscured by a C21 first-floor bridge (not included in the listing) to 3 St Mary’s Parsonage, in steel and glass. This wall is of handmade dark-red brick laid in English Garden Wall bond with varying ratios, but generally three stretcher courses between header courses. The first bay has stepped windows to the 1926 stair, with some rebuilt panels between them. To the right are a further two bays, with some replacement pvc windows* and some earlier timber windows with tilting centre panes. At ground floor to the right of the carriage gateway are two altered openings with C20 shutters. The angle to the right is bull-nosed at ground-floor level, with a stone impost supporting the angle above.

The west façade has five bays plus a three-bay projection to the right, all of four storeys and built of handmade brick laid in English Garden Wall Bond which varies between three and five stretcher courses between header courses. The ground floor is mostly obscured by a blind lean-to addition with glazed roof. All window openings have stone sills and segmental brick arches, becoming progressively shorter on successive floors. Windows are pvc replacements*. The parapet is plain with slim stone copings. To the right is the set-back, rendered 1926 stair-and-lift tower. The main workshop range has a south return with two bays visible but which is otherwise obscured by the 1926 tower. The ground floor has semi-circular arched openings.

The central courtyard has a concrete-framed south wall with glazing and brick infill (the rear of 31 and 33 King Street West). In the south-west corner is a single-bay, brick privy tower to the workshop range. The west, north and east walls are all of brick.

The west wall (east face of the workshop range) is of handmade red brick laid in English Garden Wall bond, and of two bays and four storeys, with a square brick flue in the angle at the right, with a moulded octagonal stone capping. The upper floor openings match those of the external west façade and the parapet coping is supported by a brick dentil course. At the ground floor are two arched openings. The right-hand (engine-house) opening has a semi-circular brick arch, stone sill and multi-paned timber window. The left-hand (carriage) opening has a gauged-brick basket arch on stone imposts, and a bull-nosed right jamb (the arch directly abutting the wall to the left). This arch is blocked in common bricks with a modern pvc window*. The second floor has a 20-pane historic metal window with tilting central 6-pane opener.

The north courtyard wall (south wall of the Garden Lane range of 3 Smithy Lane) is of five bays and four storeys plus basement. Bay 1 is largely blind but has blocked openings to each floor, including a semi-circular arched ground-floor opening similar to the engine-house opening to the west. These blocked openings have slits to the 1926 stair; that to the top floor itself now blocked. This bay extends above the parapet, for roof access. Bays 2 and 3 have a wide opening with rendered stone quoins and concrete flat lintel. Above this is common-brick blocking, below a four-header-course relieving arch on stone imposts. The arch has a setted roadway running through it towards Garden Lane, with cast-iron kerbs to narrow footways. The ground floor of the building has been extended into the carriageway in a modern metal-clad structure* spanning between sections of replacement brickwork with some concrete framing; the surviving original walls retain some limewash. The windows match those of the north wall of this range, but with pvc replacements* to the top floor and right-hand bay. The two basement openings have been blocked.

The east courtyard wall (west wall of 3 Smithy Lane) is of three bays and four storeys plus basement. Windows largely match the street frontage, but bay 1 has a double-height timber sashed stair window and on the top floor are pvc replacements*. A modern fire escape* is attached to this wall.

INTERIOR: the showroom range has modern interiors with suspended ceilings, and no surviving historic features visible during the inspection. A suspended ceiling conceals the roof lantern. The workshop range retains internal structural fabric including a brick-vaulted basement and some floor structures, but no visible historic features. Number 3 Smithy Lane has some modern interiors with suspended ceilings, and retains historic structure as well as an original timber stair, doors and decorative joinery.

* Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that the 1926 stair-and-lift tower, all pvc windows, the metal-clad structure within the archway from Garden Lane to the central courtyard, and the fire escape in the courtyard are not of special architectural or historic interest. However any works which have the potential to affect the character of the listed building as a building of special architectural or historic interest may still require listed building consent and this is a matter for the local planning authority to determine.


William Carr’s carriage workshop was built around 1840. The family had been making carriages in rented premises on the site since 1805, but a fire in 1836 might have been a catalyst for redevelopment. Carr’s business was advertised in 1841, in ‘the new and commodious establishment on the site of his old premises’. King Street West (originally Lower King Street) was laid out in 1842, running through the former Windmill Yard to the south of Carr’s premises. Carr bought his site in 1843, and the deeds show what is thought to be the extant west range. This also extended along the northern side of the courtyard as far as a gateway, within a discrete northern building, from Garden Lane into the courtyard. The buildings of a former east range are also shown on the deeds. The west range was the main workshop, with a basement boiler, ground-floor engine, two floors for wood-working, a trimming floor and a top-floor painting room.

In 1849 Carr built a showroom for his carriages, fronting Lower King Street and with a wide carriage entrance into the yard. Cast-iron columns at the rear supported the first floor which extended into the courtyard. This showroom floor was described as very spacious and lofty.

In 1854 a fire completely destroyed the buildings in the north-east corner of the site, although the workshop and showroom were saved. In 1855 the extant replacement four-storey-plus basement warehouse (number 3 Smithy Lane) was under construction and advertised for let.

In 1876 William Carr died and the site was sold to Peter Haworth and sons. They occupied the workshop for their leather goods factory, and in 1877 let out the showroom and warehouse to the London carriage-makers CS Windover and company. By 1886, however, the Goad fire insurance map shows that the carriage entrance was blocked and the former showroom was a warehouse with auction room above. The gateway to Garden Lane was also blocked, with a hoist and a (then disused) steam engine in the space, with another steam engine in the courtyard. A single-storey extension had also been added along the west wall of the workshop, on the site of a former narrow yard between the workshop and the gasworks which formerly stood next door. The site continued in similar industrial and commercial uses for the next forty years.

In 1926 major works were undertaken. The 1849 showroom was converted to three storeys, with a completely new steel and concrete internal structure. The south (front) and east walls were rebuilt above the ground floor, with the original first-floor windows relocated at a lower level, and new top-floor windows, while a new shopfront was inserted in the ground floor. It is thought that the height was also raised, as the current proportions would have been too tall for a single tier of glazing, the lower stages of the pilasters and quoins are of cement rather than stone, and the lower courses of brick appear redder than the more orange bricks above. A new staircase and hoist were also inserted at the junction of the workshop with the warehouse, and the extant (in 2020) stair-and-lift tower inserted in the angle between the workshop and showroom.

Following a near-miss from a high-explosive bomb during Manchester’s blitz, further alterations were made. It might have been at this time that the workshop was altered by the lowering of the tall perimeter chimney stacks and 80-foot boiler chimney down to eaves level, and that structural steel was added in the basement of the warehouse range. In 1953 the attached three-storey retail and office unit at numbers 27 and 29 King Street West was built to replace a unit destroyed in the war.

In the early-C21 PVC windows were installed in the carriage workshop (although one historic metal-framed window survives in the east wall, overlooking the courtyard). A bridge linking the building to number 3 St Mary’s Parsonage (National Heritage List for England entry 1283044) was also added.

Reasons for Listing

31 and 33 King Street West (including the carriage workshop to the rear and warehouse at 3 Smithy Lane), a carriage manufactory of approximately 1840, enhanced with a showroom of 1849 and with major alterations in 1926 and repair after the Second World War; and a commercial warehouse of 1855, with some alterations, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:
* as a surviving 1840s coach works, comprising a manufacturing block and a showroom;

* notwithstanding damage sustained during the Second World War and consequential repairs, retaining the multi-storey manufacturing block and late-C19 privy tower with the majority of the historic fabric, and evidence of the power suite;

* with good-quality classical details on the showroom frontages comprising rare surviving examples of early commercial architecture, retained and sympathetically altered in 1926;

* including a good-quality shipping warehouse of 1855 with loading slot, timber sash windows and decorative main entrance and carriage gateway, and retaining its internal structure of cast-iron columns supporting timber beams and joists, as well as good-quality features including the stair and decorative joinery.

Group value:
* with the adjacent Grade II-listed textile warehouse at 3 St Mary’s Parsonage.

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