If the idea of traversing Market Street on a Saturday afternoon is enough to bring you out in a cold sweat or bring on hallucinations of travelling end to end in a WWII tank, then fear not, for there is an alternative to the shopping Cirque du Freak.
Ensconced in a quiet corner of Manchester’s Northern Quarter sits an impressive Victorian structure, built in the early 1800’s to house the Smithfield Fish Market. In 1972, the fish market moved to Openshaw, and whilst the smell probably lingered for a few years longer, the building was eventually converted in to the Manchester Craft and Design Centre. The building itself is a fitting home for creative artists and designers, crowned with a huge glass ceiling and split over two floors the building houses 18 separate retail and design studios.
The centre has a fantastic precedent of assisting young local designers and offering support to graduates from the city’s Universities as well as showcasing the work of nationally and internationally renowned talent with a rolling programme of unique exhibitions. Running from September to mid-November is the Made for Manchester: Craft Objects of Exchange exhibition, which will present work borne out of an exchange programme of designers from Manchester and Ahmedabad, India.
Jewellery, ceramics, textiles and furniture are all produced and sold on the premises, allowing the rare opportunity for customers to interact directly with designers to discuss specific requirements or ideas behind the pieces they are interested in. Acknowledging that the work available is hand-made in most cases comes at a premium, and whilst some of the items may seem a little expensive you can be reassured that what you are buying is a unique labour of love.
An exciting addition to the centre is the arrival of Oak Street Café, which opens on September 3rd and will serve home-made soups, sandwiches and cakes for hungry shoppers to enjoy. They’ll be celebrating their opening with a 1930’s themed knees up on Saturday and more information can be found here.