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Under Threat Corrie Set Refused Heritage Listing

Jonathan Schofield on the mounting evidence that an opportunity will be lost

Published on June 12th 2012.

Under Threat Corrie Set Refused Heritage Listing

ENGLISH Heritage has decided not to list the Coronation Street set built in the 198Os in central Manchester. Could this be the nail in the coffin for popular culture landmark? 

We broke the news that listing was being considered in February in this article.

Confidential thinks the Corrie set would be marketable asset for the city and contribute hugely to the regional economy. 

The grounds stated are that, "The criteria against which we must assess the architectural significance of buildings - or in this case, a television set - is extremely strict.

"The oldest buildings are just less than 30 years old - and most do not have interiors and therefore exist as facades, most of which have been altered.

"The set as it stands today is an active reminder of the long-running television programme, rather than a survival of an earlier era of television productions."

English Heritage's Nick Bridgland said: "While listing is not appropriate for the set, a better solution could be for a local group or organisation with an interest to care for it and allow Corrie fans from all over the world to visit and enjoy it."

Meanwhile we've had this from the city council.

A spokesman said: "Soundings were taken with a major national leisure operator which owns a number of significant leisure facilities and attractions to assess whether there would be market interest in preserving the existing Coronation Street as a tourist attraction. The early feedback was that they did not think it would be a viable proposition."

This contradicts the, albeit informal, opinion of respected operators such as Cavern City Tours in our February article. 

So, eh up, things look grim for The Rovers and The Kabin.

Confidential is dismayed by the turn of events.

English Heritage may feel the refusal of listing is justified given the criteria it operates under but it has missed a trick to strike a blow for popular culture. 

The city will also miss a trick if they allow this potential tourist magnet to be demolished.

Of course the hope is that a prospective developer of the Granada site - IKEA and Urban Splash are rumoured to be interested - will themselves see the virtue of retention. Castlefield Forum of local businesses and residents might also be tempted to get involved. 

Confidential thinks the Corrie set would be marketable asset for the city and contribute hugely to the regional economy. 

The official figure for the value of the 2011 Manchester International Festival is £37.5m. For 2010's Manchester Day Parade the official contribution was more than £5m. 

Both seem high but if one day - the Manchester Day Parade - can deliver more than £5m of economic benefit then tens of thousands of Corrie obsessives and Corrie curious visitors each year would pulverise that figure. 

Financially it seems a nonsense not to keep the set of Corrie. 

Culturally it seems a nonsense too.

Manchester was called by historian AJP Taylor, 'the least aristocratic city in the UK'. The result is a more comfortable mix of the high brow and the pop.

Manchester is the Halle and the Hacienda, Nobel winning scientists and soccer stars, Manchester Art Gallery and music hall, Cathedral choirs and Corrie.

Demolition would send a signal that Manchester is turning its back on a key aspect of its roots. You get the feeling that some in the higher levels of city life are ashamed of the Corrie association.

It might not be many people's cup of tea - it certainly isn't mine - but in a city that is almost a Labour one party state this denial seems very peculiar. 

But for the number crunchers forget all that, just think of the tourist appeal. 

Coronation StreetCoronation Street

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23 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousJune 12th 2012.

It will be razed to the ground and built on.

Next to it they are building a multi story car park (where the old building is that they currently use for filiming inside shots). All set to be bulldozed.

Perhaps the council can ask an architect to put a glass roof on it and turn into a world class public space instead.

Jill JillianJune 12th 2012.

Is this the same council who took the money and concreted over the gardens in Piccadily

Kevin PeelJune 12th 2012.

This is disappointing but I take heart from Nick's statement:

English Heritage's Nick Bridgland said: "While listing is not appropriate for the set, a better solution could be for a local group or organisation with an interest to care for it and allow Corrie fans from all over the world to visit and enjoy it."

Any takers?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Poster BoyJune 16th 2012.

Shock; Labour Councillor in 'Big Society" plea...

AnonymousJune 12th 2012.

The Set should be given over to the Science Museum wherein they could make a charge for entering the street and so generate some income for the wider development of the museum.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Barry ThompsonJune 13th 2012.

Whilst working at the Science Museum, hundreds of foreign visitors asked whether they could visit Coronation Street; a vast amount were Australian!

HeadjackJune 13th 2012.

I think they came out and said they didn't want it. I vaguely remember an interview on here with the current head of MOSI.

AnonymousJune 12th 2012.

Why is it not being moved to Media City and ITV's new site

1 Response: Reply To This...
ClaireJune 12th 2012.

The current set cannot be moved brick by brick. It is being re-built 30% larger than it is now as it is only two-thirds real size.

AnonymousJune 12th 2012.

I first saw Corrie at the age of 19. I am now 72.... A bit of ancient history perhaps

AncoatsJune 12th 2012.

Really? If Urban Splash cannot afford to save the historic centre piece of their New Islington development, the Ancoats Dispensary, and are therefore applying for permission to demolish it despite opposition from the local community, The Victorian society, English Heritage and a number of councilors, how would they have the wherewithal to save Corrie st?

AnonymousJune 12th 2012.

No surprise there then. This announcement confirms the folly of pursuing a listing for flimsy bits of ephemera (i.e. a TV set) rather than the buildings of genuine cultural and historic value, namely Granada House and the studios.

Let's hope this error has not let them off the hook and we do not see the destruction of these important buildings.

Jonathan SchofieldJune 12th 2012.

With due respect to some interesting pieces, but no more than interesting pieces, of Modern office architecture they weren't watched relentlessly by millions of people twice then four times a week. Ralph Tubbs' Granada House is not a world shattering classic. It's good. I'd love it to stay. But in terms of popular culture the Set is the key, not functional, architecture that could have been built anywhere in Northern Europe.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 12th 2012.

But you're arguing for the retention of the Corrie set on cultural not architectural grounds.

AnonymousJune 13th 2012.

What do most people think of when they think of Manchester? Coronation Street.

So here is a once in a lifetime opportunity to secure this set and preserve it for posterity. It is in the centre of town and would be visited by many yet permission is granted to demolish it and stick an office/apartment block on it.

The council should get involved in this. How much have they spent on the town hall, £170m? How much on the new football museum? Yet again anything of note is bulldozed and identikit concrete/glass put up.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
DavidJune 13th 2012.

No they don't.They think of Manchester United.How many people in Asia have heard of Coronation Street?.I would suggest pretty close to zero.
Also who says Coronation Stret belongs to Manchester?.It was written by a Salford writer and set in Salford.If it belongs anywhere,it belongs the other side of the river.

AnonymousJune 14th 2012.

Who said anything about peole in Asia? I am talking about the UK. In the UK Manchester is famous for Corrie, not evrybody follows football. In the UK it is Corrie, Shameless, Royle Fmily, Oasis, Bernard Manning people think of - trust me I work in London and that is what Manchester is all about.

Maybe you should telephone Granada and tell them that the set should never have been where it is now as it should have been in Salford.

Truth is it is all fictional and is set in a made up place called Weatherfield.

So let's just bulldoze it and to hell with it.

Calum McGJune 14th 2012.

David, have you got some stats to back up your claims re: Asia? Thanks.

DavidJune 13th 2012.

Who watches Coronation Street anymore?.It is not what it was in the 1970s and 1980s,attracting huge audiences.Outside of commonwealth countries like Australia it is not that well known.
It is not going to attract European or Chinese tourists to the city.it is hardly Old Trafford.

AnonymousJune 14th 2012.

Just the Commonwealth countries! So just 1.8 billion then. Oh well, if Dirk from Lichtenstein hasn't heard of it then best stick a supermarket in it's place.

Peter CastreeJune 19th 2012.

Won't the fans want to go and visit the new set at Trafford Wharf when Granada move production there? I would have thought the attraction of the set is linked to the fact that the programme is actually made there. Once this is no longer the case, I imagine people will lose interest and prefer to switch their allegiance to the new set.

Jonathan SchofieldJune 19th 2012.

There's no plan to open the new set to the public

John O'DonnellJune 29th 2012.

"Soundings were taken with a major national leisure operator which owns a number of significant leisure facilities and attractions "
So they approached Merlin who run theme parks and aquariums - they weren't intested so assume nobody else is? Typical council short sightedness.

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