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A pub built by the people of Manchester planned for the city centre

Home / Press centre / A pub built by the people of Manchester planned for the city centre

  • New pub to be built using traditional construction techniques and contemporary design as part of NOMA neighbourhood in Manchester  
  • Plans submitted to Manchester City Council  
  • Professional craftspeople to lead teams of volunteers throughout the build to keep disappearing skills alive for another generation

Plans for a new pub called The Pilcrow, which will be built by hand using disappearing construction crafts and contemporary design, have been submitted to Manchester City Council today by The Co-operative Group and Hermes Investment Management, the joint venture partners behind NOMA. The build will be driven by professional craftspeople and built largely by local volunteers.

The project, which will be a temporary structure, designed to move around the NOMA neighbourhood as it develops, is expected to fast become a local attraction and talking point, giving people the chance to take part in the building process itself and learn new skills. A series of free-to-attend workshops will see groups of volunteers spend time being taught a new skill and then spend a couple of days putting what they have learnt in to action by constructing their part of the pub themselves.

Aside from the base build of the structure, every element of the pub will be crafted using traditional skills and local labour. This will include everything from the glasses that will hold the beer to the bell that will call last orders.

Attention is also being paid to what will be served, with smaller local brewers providing modern craft beers and food coming from the best local producers. Once up and running, The Pilcrow will also function as a public studio, learning and workshop space.

Ben Young at Capital Properties, who came up with the idea and will be overseeing the project for NOMA, says: “Skills that were once common place have become endangered. Craft dies when we find a faster, cheaper way of doing business. Faster and cheaper are both fine, but we are interested in better. The build won’t be quick and it won’t be easy, but we are looking to preserve quality. We want those who will be drinking at The Pilcrow to be able to say ‘we built this, this is our pub’.”

Subject to approval, construction is expected to start in January 2016, with the pub itself opening for first orders in the autumn of 2016. The design of the structure will result in a contemporary space that fits in with its surroundings, but that will be dictated by the traditional methods of building used.

Builders, coders, designers and makers will be recruited to lead volunteers through skills workshops covering everything from drystone walling and cabinet making, through to home brewing, bee keeping and robotics. There will also be a number of wider public events held on the site throughout the construction period.

David Pringle, director of NOMA at The Co-operative Group, said: “We want NOMA to be a place for people and what better way to do this than with a unique pub built by everyone. We looked at a variety of options, but the ambitious, original, imaginative and innovative nature of this idea really appealed to us.”

“The concept will now go through a rigorous planning process by Manchester City Council and should it be approved, we’ll be looking to start signing up volunteers in October.”

Ed Sellick, Senior Asset Manager at Hermes Investment Management added: “The distinctive vision and unique cultural heritage of NOMA makes it different to other parts of the city. We are keen to involve the local community in its ongoing development and this place-making initiative is another example of this.”

The pub will sit adjacent to NOMA’s, as-yet-unnamed, new City square, close to Manchester’s Victoria Train Station.

For those interested in finding out more about volunteering, there is a sign-up form on the website. Additional information will be revealed on The Pilcrow’s social media channels in the coming months.

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