Looking at Buildings

, printed from the Looking at Buildings website on Thursday 22nd August 2019

Britannia Hotel

ordersGlossary Term [1]. Emphasis was on display and good lighting for viewing the goods, and there would usually be an impressive hall or foyer and show rooms with mahogany counters beneath the windows where goods could be inspected. The industry encompassed made-up clothing, haberdashery and a wide range of fancy goods.

S. & J. Watts was the largest wholesale drapery business in Manchester and the owner James Watts typical of the city's new mercantile princes, a self-made man who espoused the free-trade cause. His warehouse aptly encapsulates the spirit of self-confidence mixed with a touchGlossary Term [2] of brashness. The length is twenty-three bays or c. 300ft, the height nearly 100ft. There are four roof towers but the ranges of gables between and on top of the towers shown on C19 engravings have been lost.

RenaissanceGlossary Term [3] to ElizabethanGlossary Term [4], culminating with wheel windows in the roof towers. This fantastic mixture is held together by an orderly rhythm and the confidence of the composition, so it is more than just a curiosity. The building had four large internal wells and a system of circulation which segregated customers, staff and porters. Inside the original sumptuous staircase is preserved, as are the generous landings with their ornate cast-iron columns.

Last updated: Monday, 26th January 2009