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Report - Old Granada Studios, Manchester - January 2017

TVurbex

TV Locations Aficionado
28DL Full Member
#1
I first visited this site in June 2014, exactly one year after its official closure. Now, the site has a number of temporary uses but is also subject to impending demolition/conversion to make way for the St. John’s quarter, so I decided to say my final farewells to the former Granada Television Centre - a site which has fascinated me for as long as I can remember.

Due to the vast nature of the site and unique look and feel of each area, I've split the report into sections - one for each building (or part of):

HQ Building
Formerly known as the Granada Building (c.1962 - attached to, but often confused for, the smaller Granada House (c.1956)), this building houses the four main studios and associated production galleries on the lower levels, and the former production/support offices on the remaining upper levels.

The building was designed so that it could easily be converted to a hotel (should the studios fail), and was built by Swinton-based building firm, J. Gerrard & Sons Limited. Over 50 years later, in a peculiar turn of fate, the very same company (since acquired by multi-national Amec Foster Wheeler plc) was originally shortlisted to work on the development of the present-day site to convert it into the proposed Manchester Grande hotel.

Pics
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Dressing rooms 8 (VIP) and 7.

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Access from dressing rooms to studios 12 and 8.

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Two of several production galleries.

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One of several sound control rooms, with a window overlooking one of the studios.

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Transmitter control room at penthouse level.

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Early 70s microwave receiver terminal instruction manual. The equipment was more recently used to receive pictures from a microwave transmitter mounted on the side of the nearby Hotel Campanile Manchester, where a camera housed in the hotel's attic streamed live video of part of Manchester city centre (including Granada Television Centre) which was used for several years as a backdrop on Granada Reports.

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Door to roof, with Beetham Tower in background.

Bonded Warehouse
Built in 1867 and originally known as the 'Charles Street Warehouse', this building was used for the loading, unloading and temporary storage of freight travelling in and out of the Liverpool Road Goods Station.

During the last decade of the 19th century, following the renaming of the adjacent street, the warehouse was renamed to the 'Grape Street Bonded Warehouse' and stables, stalls and harnessing rooms for working horses were also built beside it.

The building was originally converted by Granada in 1968 following their acquisition of this part of the site and was used as offices, sets and once formed a significant part of the Granada Studios Tour.

Pics
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Bottom floor corridor.

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Evidence of use as a television set.

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Downing Street set, which formed part of the Granada Studios Tour.

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Sign on a middle floor for one of the Granada subsidiaries responsible for running the Granada Studios Tour.

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A whiteboard of now defunct telephone numbers, frozen in time.

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Looking out towards Spinningfields.

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Looking out from one of potentially hundreds of side-rooms within the building.

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Modern ventilation shafts and surfaces within the inner walls of the warehouse.

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The Dragon's Den-esque top floor.

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Looking out onto the Coronation Street backlot. 'Victoria Court' is a fictional apartment building featured in the soap, perhaps named after the ruling monarch at the time of the real life warehouse's construction.
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Nick Tilsley would be fuming at the state of the lobby.

The Stables
Although originally converted into an experimental theatre and bar, The Stables was used throughout the 90s as part of the Granada Studios Tour.

For this, one of the stable blocks was converted into a replica of Coronation Street's Rovers Return pub in 1988, which still remains today. Similarly, the lower level of the two storey stable block was converted into a replica of Emmerdale's Woolpack pub, which was converted into a staff room for Coronation Street crew after the Granada Studios Tour ended in 1999.

The upper level of the two storey stable block formed the façade of Coronation Street's Rosamund Street Medical Centre from 2000 to 2013 (when Coronation Street relocated to MediaCityUK), with the interior later being used as a hospital set.

Pics
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Roof/junction of The Stables with Bonded Warehouse.

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Replica Rovers Return pub set.

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Storage - including pieces of the former Weatherfield General Hospital set from Coronation Street.

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Looking out onto the former real-life Grape Street with one of two of Coronation Street's Weatherfield Central Police Station fasçades just visible through the left window.

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Lighting storage cupboard.

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Kitchen.

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The remains of what appears to be a registry office set.

Continued in next post...
 

TVurbex

TV Locations Aficionado
28DL Full Member
#2
...continued from previous post:

Baronial Hall
Adjacent to the main workshop, this part of the site once acted as a lobby for various parts of the Granada Studios Tour including the Manhattan Theatre and Motion Master 4D cinema.

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4D cinema seats.

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4D cinema projector.

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Formerly home to Elvis Presley memorabilia, this room is now used for general storage.

'Rat Run' tunnels
Used predominantly for utilities, plant and storage but also in some parts containing remnants of the Granada Studios Tour, the so-called 'Rat Run' tunnels are infact the undercroft of a colonnaded railway viaduct, circa 1870. The viaduct is supported by a series of cast-iron columns on stone bases.

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Fire hydrant:
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A mock dressing room used as part of the Granada Studios Tour.

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Miscellaneous 50s film star.

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Lights in the dark.

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Stairs up to the 'LA skyline' tour feature.

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A real lift, but far from level 39.

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Looking down.

From retro-futuristic to historic:
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Does anyone know what this is?

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Electrics plan.

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A rather unlikely object to find behind a door labelled 'Mortuary' offers a slight sense of relief:
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An unhinged door propped up against one of two information posters for the British Women's Heart and Health Study in the room labelled 'Mortuary'.

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Some of the pumps don't seem to be in order :eek:



Goodbye Granadaland!