This place appeared as a lead on one of the forums over the weekend, but did not state exactly where about in the country the building was based, after a few communications with the Oldham based Weasel and some late night text messages to arrange a time, the visit was planned.
Fast forward a few hours and I was awoken by the most hated sound in the world….the alarm clock. As it’s getting late in the year now, it was still dark outside and the last thing I wanted to do was get up, but after a short word with myself, I was up, dressed and heading out the door.
I am glad I got up as well as this place fast turned out to be the best place I have visited this year. I expected the place to be one of those lovely looking buildings outside that had been turned into a soulless place full of patrician walls and suspended ceilings, how wrong I was.
We started off upstairs and I was impressed at how untouched these floors were, nothing ‘added in the 70’s’ all the original features and although it was a little bare, it did not dampen my liking for the place.
We hit the ground floor and through an unassuming late addition fire door I was greeted by one of the most amazing sites I have ever seen, the main ‘office floor’ of the building was ornately decorated with glazed tiles, ornate plaster panelled ceiling and rooms which had at one stage been nicely decorated with etching to show what the building once was. Even the cupboards had tile work in them, no expense was spared with this building, you can’t say that for much of today’s architecture.
Tucked away in the corner was a small staircase leading down into the basement, where we hoped to possibly see some nice vaults or other things left over from the Assurance company, sadly we were finally out of luck as the whole basement had been converted into a nightclub called, for some reason Holy City Zoo, least they had only destroyed the lower level of the building and the rest remained as it should be.
Not much really exists from what I can see, but this was the information included on the British Listed Buildings website:-
Grade II Listed, built in 1889 by Alfred Waterhouse.
Brick with terracotta dressings, and red plain tiled roof.
3 storeys raised over basement with attic. 3-window range with recessed polygonal towers over entrances to each side.
Last listed for sale in 2014 with a guide price of £425,000.