Join us on 1st July to ask the experts for their thoughts on the future of the London Road Fire Station and to try and influence a positive outcome for this amazing building in the heart of our city. We have assembled a panel from different disciplines with expertise relevant to the situation. There will be a lively Question Time style panel discussion with questions from the audience, chaired by Manchester Journalist and Tour Guide Jonathan Schofield. Jonathan is the editor of Manchester Confidential. The event will be recorded for media use and it is anticipated that developers and the media will attend and the event. Don’t miss this opportunity to join the debate and influence the future of this site.

London Road Fire Station is finally on the market after laying unused for 29 years. What does this mean for the future of this grade II* listed building? The shock announcement in April changed the circumstances around the building. Manchester Council had set the wheels in motion to force current owners, Britannia, to give up the building by attempting a Second Compulsory Purchase Order. It looked as if a tough legal battle lay ahead. The building has been officially “At Risk” since the 1990s. After all these years will a sale really go ahead? Will new owners develop the building in a sensitive way? Or is the situation more complicated? Our research tells us Mancunians really care about this site and have high aspirations to see something exciting happen here and a space that is accessible to the public. The panelists will consider these issues. The first time we held an event like this it led to the formation of the Friends of London Road Fire Station. This event coincides with our 2nd birthday. Join the discussion to help get the building on its way towards a positive reuse in time for our 3rd birthday. Of course a birthday also means a celebration. There will be a bar and maybe even cake.


The Chair

Jonathan Schofield

Jonathan Schofield is the editor of Manchester Confidential which has followed the story of the Fire Station for many years. He is author of several books on Manchester and the North West and has considerable experience in broadcasting both on TV and Radio.


The Panel

Jess Steele

Jess Steele – is director of Jericho Road Solutions. She has extensive experience working in and supporting community organisations and was formerly Director of Innovation at Locality. More recently she established the Community Assets in Difficult Ownership programme. London Road Fire Station is a demonstrator project in this wider national programme. She is a national campaigner and expert in tackling difficult ownership and working to empower communities.

Ray Makin

Ray Makin – Chairman of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Atelier MB Architects Ray is also a long standing member of Manchester’s Conservation and Historic Buildings Panel. He has a strong interest in Urban Regeneration with a particular passion for the innovative re-use of listed buildings. He has a vast range of experience in the redevelopment and re-use of buildings. Ray is on the RIBA Conservation Register to CA level.

Trevor MacFarlane

Trevor MacFarlane – An award-winning theatre director and creative arts consultant from Manchester. Trevor was recently been appointed as a Culture Manager in the European Parliament with a specific focus on the North West of England. He continues to work with some of the foremost cultural organisations in the UK and EU as well as with emerging artists, companies and educational institutions.

Emma Curtin

Emma Curtin – has been chair of the Friends of London Road Fire Station since it was formed following a public meeting in 2013. She is a registered architect and a lecturer at the Liverpool University School of Architecture. She has represented the Friends at Council Planning and Executive meetings. Sometimes referred to as an architectural activist she is involved in a number of other community led projects relating to heritage buildings.

Bob Bonner

Bob Bonner – Curator of Greater Manchester Fire Museum and author of a book about the building. Bob also worked at London Road as a firefighter and is on the Friends of London Road Fire Station Committee.

Mark Watson

Mark Watson – Member of the Victorian Society’s Northern Buildings Committee, and also a member of the Manchester Historic Buildings and Conservation Areas Panel.

David Roscoe

David Roscoe – Planning Development Manager, Manchester City Council. David has been involved in the Fire Station case for a considerable time and has been inside the building on behalf of the council in recent years.


This event has been made possible with the support of the panelists who are all appearing without a fee, our tireless volunteer committee and numerous other volunteers from the Friends of London Road Fire Station. In additional support from The Mechanics Institute, The Liverpool School of Architecture, the Community Assets in Difficult Ownership Program and Studio Smith has been essential. Thank you!

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