Ancient Manchester - 6 of the city's oldest buildings...
With Halloween just around the corner, I thought I'd nod to the season by talking about some of Manchester's oldest buildings...
Now I'm not saying these places are haunted or spooky, but they are all pretty ancient, so let your Halloween-y imaginations run wild!
|The Old Wellington and Sinclair's Oyster Bar - Shambles Square|
These two pubs now make up Shambles Square, but were originally positioned on Market Street. Amazingly, The Old Wellington was built in 1552... that's 465 years ago! Originally a drapers shop, it first became a pub in the 19th century. The buildings were attached to each other, with Oyster Bar being an extension of the Old Wellington - but they were always two separate pubs. The oyster part of the Sinclair's Oyster Bar came about in the mid 19th century, when oysters (once a poor man's food) were introduced on the menu... I don't think you can get oysters there today though. What we now know as Shambles Square was actually created in 1999. In their original position, the ancient structures were dwarfed by ugly concrete buildings, and it was thought that they would look much more at home next to the city's old cathedral. The pubs were taken apart brick by brick and then put back together again in their present location - I cannot comprehend quite how complicated that must have been! They are now at a 90 degree angle to each other and look fab next to the Corn Exchange and the cathedral... good luck getting a seat outside when the sun is shining!
|Manchester Cathedral - Victoria Street|
The exact age and origins of Manchester's cathedral are disputed. During the 19th century, the Angel Stone, a stone carving from 700AD, was discovered in the original South Porch of the building. Additionally, in William the Conqueror's doomsday book (1086) it says that Manchester had a Parish church near where the present cathedral sits. However, according to the cathedral's website, this church was abandoned, and in 1215 the current church was constructed - a whopping 802 years ago... wowzers. The building has been refurbished, so its old age may not be apparent on first glance, but it certainly is ancient.
|Chetham's Library - Long Millgate|
Walk down towards Victoria station from the cathedral and you will find Chetham's Library - the oldest public reference library in the UK. The library was established way back in 1653 and is still open to the public today - pretty impressive. The actual building itself is even older, dating back to 1421. The library was frequented by Communist Manifesto creators, Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels, during the mid 19th century... claim to fame! The sandstone structure of the library contrasts greatly to the various contemporary buildings that surround it, including the super modern Urbis building. If you want to get a closer look at the library, visitors are taken around at specific times during the working week, check out their website for details.
|St Anne's Church - St Anne Street|
Located in St Anne's square, this church (like Chetham's Library) is made of attractive sandstone. Established in 1712, it isn't quite as old as the library... although 305 years old is still rather impressive. The Church is friendly and open to visitors, and even has a cafe on Saturdays... not so spooky then!
|The Castle Hotel - Oldham Street|
The Castle is a characterful and iconic pub slap-bang in the middle of Manchester's vibrant Northern Quarter. This historic pub was born in 1776... I'd love to ask it about what it has witnessed during 241 years on bustling Oldham Street... if only pubs could talk! There are lots of cosy and compact rooms but also a music hall and outside seating... it's got it all. I wonder if it has any ghosts of previous landlords lurking around too?
Tell us about ancient buildings near you... tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or leave a comment bellow. I hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween!