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Electricity Junction Box

A Grade II Listed Building in City Centre, Manchester

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.4798 / 53°28'47"N

Longitude: -2.247 / 2°14'49"W

OS Eastings: 383705

OS Northings: 398142

OS Grid: SJ837981

Mapcode National: GBR DJH.4L

Mapcode Global: WHB9G.GS7Q

Plus Code: 9C5VFQH3+W6

Entry Name: Electricity Junction Box

Listing Date: 30 May 2018

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1449639

Location: Manchester, M2

County: Manchester

Electoral Ward/Division: City Centre

Built-Up Area: Manchester

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater Manchester

Summary


Decorative cast-iron electricity junction box of the early C20 by Hardy and Padmore.

Description

Electricity junction box, early C20, manufactured by Hardy and Padmore Ltd for Manchester City Council.

MATERIALS: cast iron.

PLAN: rectangular.

DESCRIPTION: the longer sides of the box are parallel with Brazennose Street. It has a low pyramidal cap with castellated edges above a moulded cornice, supported at each corner by an inward-scrolled corbel. Each of the two longer sides is a door with a moulded surround, two decorative strap hinges at the right hand side, and a Jacobean-style geometric strapwork relief surrounding a detachable plaque featuring the crest of the City of Manchester. The two short sides are plain with moulded edges. The box is painted black, with the strapwork design picked out in gold and the city crest fully-coloured. This box does not feature the manufacturer’s name, but is an identical design to known Hardy and Padmore examples nearby.

History

Consumer electricity arrived in Manchester in 1893 and by 1920 the number of consumers was around 20,000. Distribution and supply infrastructure was needed to transfer current from where it was generated to its point of use. The junction box, or feeder pillar, was designed to control the electrical supply to a number of buildings in the surrounding area.

This junction box was produced in the early C20 at the Worcester foundry of Hardy and Padmore. Although electricity pillars are marked nearby on the 1:1250 Ordnance Survey map of 1948, there is not one marked in this location. This example is therefore thought to have been moved here, probably when Lincoln Square was created by clearance of some properties on the south side of Brazennose Street in the 1960s.

The Scotsmen Robert and John Hardy set up their foundry in Worcester in 1814. Richard Padmore joined the partnership in 1829. The foundry was an important English supplier of goods worldwide including lamp posts, tram wire supports and poles, bollards, thresholds and manhole covers. A number of their products are listed including several gas lamps. The company went into voluntary liquidation in 1967.

Reasons for Listing

The electricity junction box at Lincoln Square, in the civic heart of Manchester, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* for its well-detailed, customised design by a world-renowned company, surviving with relatively little alteration;

* as an increasingly rare example of the type.

Historic interest:

* illustrating the development of electricity into a mass-consumed utility, and the romance and respect which were accorded to its infrastructure in the early years of the twentieth century.

Group value:

* for its strong visual relationship with adjacent listed buildings and the surrounding conservation area.

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