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Manchester Oxford Road Station (including platform structures)

A Grade II Listed Building in City Centre, Manchester

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.474 / 53°28'26"N

Longitude: -2.2422 / 2°14'32"W

OS Eastings: 384018

OS Northings: 397501

OS Grid: SJ840975

Mapcode National: GBR DKK.5N

Mapcode Global: WHB9G.JYH4

Entry Name: Manchester Oxford Road Station (including platform structures)

Listing Date: 24 November 1995

Last Amended: 26 February 2013

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1255053

English Heritage Legacy ID: 458646

Location: Manchester, M1

County: Manchester

Civil Parish: Non Civil Parish

Metropolitan District Ward: City Centre

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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Summary

Railway station building and platform structures, 1958-60, by Max Clendinning of British Railways' Midland Region with Hugh Tottenham of the Timber Development Association. Laminated-timber structure of three conoid shells, with hardwood strip ceilings to the shell roofs and canopies. Single-storey.

Description

Railway station building and platform structures, 1958-60, by Max Clendinning of British Railways' Midland Region with Hugh Tottenham of the Timber Development Association. Laminated-timber structure of three conoid shells with hardwood strip ceilings to the shell roofs and canopies. Single-storey.

DESCRIPTION: the main station building is covered by three shell roofs of diminishing size (the largest being at the eastern front and the smallest at the western rear) that range between 13m and 29m in span and are supported on a cruck-like frame. The front (east) elevation is reminiscent of the styling of Sydney Opera House and has a recessed, glazed upper section, underneath which lies the main entrance and eastern end of the booking office. The station's booking office, buffet, toilets and staff facilities are constructed of timber and concrete, with the two former facilities forming a lozenge-shaped island along the southern side of the main building.

The main building sits between two railway tracks with tall, curved canopies that extend out over the platforms and are supported by similarly styled crucks to the main building. Similar canopies incorporating a central spine with raised, arched glazing cover the station's two central island platforms, which, along with a far platform, are accessed via an enclosed footbridge, which is not of special interest. All the canopies have lozenge shaped skylights that echo the lozenge shape of the booking office and buffet in the main building, and deep fascias to their front edge. The main concourse incorporates an original semi-circular, concrete and timber bench and two curved, back-to-back timber benches exist to the central island platforms. Two sympathetically styled waiting shelters of c2011 located on the central island platforms and far platform are not of special interest.

History

The creation of British Railways in 1948 amalgamated four companies: the Great Western Railway (GWR), London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS), London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) and Southern Railway (SR). Each company had its own architects' department, and this did not change after nationalisation. Leslie Martin established the LMS as the 'cradle of prefabrication' when he designed three stations in 1945, which was followed by his successors adopting a lightweight steel system for a series of small stations north of Crewe when the lines between London, Manchester and Liverpool began to be electrified in 1957.

Manchester Oxford Road Station, which was constructed in 1958-60 on top of the Manchester South Junction & Altrincham Railway viaduct and replaced an earlier station of 1874, was the only large-scale station in England rebuilt using prefabricated methods. The station building and platform structures were designed by Max Clendinning of British Railways' Midland Region in conjunction with the engineer, Hugh Tottenham of the Timber Development Association who had been researching timber-shell roofs since 1956; the building's lightweight roof structure partly being designed to reduce loads on the viaduct beneath. Following his work with British Railways' Midland Region, Clendinning went on to become a successful interior and furniture designer.

Since its construction the station has been subject to improvements works, including the installation of new passenger shelters and disabled toilets, the erection of a new customer information point, and re-surfacing of the concourse area and footbridge steps, predominantly in the early-C21.

Reasons for Listing

Manchester Oxford Road Station, including platform structures, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: it is one of the best post-war railway stations in the country, with a striking and highly elegant design constructed of laminated timber;
* Design interest: the station's unique design employs a high level of sophistication and innovation through its use of conoid shells supported on a cruck-like frame, which not only create a dramatic aesthetic form, but endow the building with a light and spacious interior;
* Architect: it was designed by Max Clendinning of British Railways' Midland Region and Hugh Tottenham of the Timber Development Association, and represents Tottenham's finest work;
* Technological interest: it is the most dramatic example of the use of timber-shell roofs in England; utilising techniques pioneered and developed by the Timber Development Association;
* Rarity: it is the only large station in Britain to have been re-built in prefabricated materials.

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