Manchester City Council

Sports, leisure & the Arts George Street Conservation Area

Improvement and enhancement

Considerable improvements have already taken place in recent years with the construction of the Chinese arch and garden and the refurbishment of numerous buildings. Where new building work is to take place any proposals should relate to the existing building context in form, scale and materials. New and refurbished buildings in the area should be neither diluted nor superficial reflections of historic buildings but should have a vitality of their own. Bland copies would make no positive contribution but would simply devalue the historic character of the area.

In both Georgian and Victorian architecture, there was great emphasis on proportion, not only of the whole facade of the building but also of the openings and the position of the openings. These techniques have been lost in the architecture of the 1960s and 1970s, but when designing new structures adjacent to such buildings, the basic design principles of an over-large ground floor, a middle portion and a top part which creates a varied skyline, must be respected if the harmony of the area is to be retained.

It will be apparent that almost all windows in Georgian and Victorian buildings are vertically-proportioned, i.e. taller than they are wide, and most are of the sliding-sash type. In cases where they have deteriorated beyond repair, replacement windows should be of a similar kind to the original windows. Care must also be taken over the design and positioning of signs and canopies.

By virtue of the area being regarded as Chinatown, demands exist for illuminated signs to be displayed over many of the buildings' elevations, but this must not be allowed to compromise the original Georgian and Victorian architecture. Signs should be designed and located so as not to compete with the architectural details of buildings.

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