Wythenshawe Bus Depot, Manchester
Description: Wythenshawe Bus Depot
Date Listed: 13 July 2001
English Heritage Building ID: 487891
OS Grid Reference: SJ8306089384
OS Grid Coordinates: 383060, 389384
Latitude/Longitude: 53.4010, -2.2562
Location: Harling Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester M22 4TS
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SJ88NW BRADNOR ROAD
13-JUL-01 (Northeast side)
Wythenshawe Bus Depot
Former bus garage, now warehousing. 1939-42 by Manchester City Architect's Department, Chief Architect G Noel Hill; concrete structure devised by Messrs Chisarc and Shell D Ltd, consulting engineer H G Cousins. Reinforced concrete arched construction, with shell concrete barrel vaults incorporating central top lights of individual square prisms. The concrete arches in the garage have a span of 165 feet, a rise of approximately 42 feet, and are 42 feet apart; the thickness of the roof shell is 23/4 inches thick. Repair hall and washing bays to rear, now in separate occupation, are of rendered brick, with repair hall roof formed of seven longitudinal shell cylinders of 22'6" radius incorporating roof lights, with rigid end frames and deep edge beams, the central bay with expansion joints. Long strip glazing in side walls of main garage, with folding doors to front.
The garage with accommodation for one hundred double-decker buses was planned to serve as a depot for the Manchester Corporation bus services to the Wythenshawe Housing Estate, but it was taken over by the Ministry of Aircraft Production immediately on completion in 1942 for the production of A V Roe's Lancaster aircraft. It is one of the first reinforced concrete shell roof structures to be built in England. Chisarc and Shell D Ltd were the British patentees, but as the system was both innovatory and German they found few clients in the late 1930s. It is a smaller, but earlier and more daring shell roof than that at Bournemouth, and anticipates the better-known bus garage at Stockwell, LB Lambeth (II*). The late 1930s and early 1950s saw the building of very many bus garages as tram services gave way to buses, and shell construction was a very cheap way of achieving broad, uninterrupted spans. The general equations for shell domes and cylindrical shell roofs were first published in England in 1930, and again in August 1935. However, this was the pioneering example of the means of construction, and was widely influential in the years after the war when steel, timber and bricks were in short supply.
The Builder, 15 September 1939, p.437
Official Architecture, August 1939, pp.774-5
The Builder, 19 July 1946, pp.62-3
Architect and Building News, 26 July 1946, pp.54-5
Architects' Journal, 5 September 1946, pp.176-8
Concrete and Constructional Engineering, September 1946
Listing NGR: SJ8306089384
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.