One of the UK’s most well-loved gay quarters, The Village is home to a host of bars and entertainment venues, all set around the famous Canal Street. Being part of the old industrial centre of town, this area boasts a host of conversions and is ideal for those looking for properties with a bit of charm and character. Although parking can be tricky, there isn’t much need for a car when you live this centrally.
In the 60s the area that would become the Village was deserted following the collapse of the cotton industry. Having been industrialised it was a gloomy part of the city with little life.
By the late 80s, more gay people were coming out. In Manchester protests against Section 28 took place that passed through the city centre and the Village and ended at the town hall. At one of these Manchester protests around 20,000 people marched and what was significant was that they weren’t all gay. This was the start of the Manchester Pride, although it wasn’t named as that until many years later. It started with the owners of Rembrandt, Napoleons and the New Union wanting to do something on the August Bank Holiday weekend, the main event in the first year was an afternoon bring and buy sale. The vigil aspect came a few years later when the gay people of Manchester started losing their friends, lovers and life partners to HIV/AIDS. It now attracts thousands of people to Manchester every year.
The 90s brought a glass-fronted revolution started by the newly opened Manto bar. Before Manto, the Village had a very “behind closed doors” feel to it, and this glass-fronted venue was symbolic of being: out and proud. New bars sprang up including Metz, Prague 5 (now G-A-Y), Vanilla and Via Fossa. Poptastic and Cruz 101 clubs opened around this time as well.
Queer As Folk, a TV programme that dramatised the life of three gay men in the Village was aired on Channel 4 and signified that there had been a major shift in societal attitudes towards gay people.
The Village today is a clean and bright setting with plenty of bars and clubs that gives it a vibrant atmosphere.
Alongside the social part of the village, the area was one of the first major areas that developments started to be converted to living spaces. Granby Village being one of the first largest developments in the whole city centre. Granby Village is one of only a few developments in Manchester that has a swimming pool and gym for the private use of the residents. This was then followed by a stream of conversions along Sackville Street, Whitworth Street, Bloom Street, Richmond Street and Chorlton Street. The late Carol Ainscow played a huge part in this area, none more so than 42/44 Sackville Street, this was originally a development that Manhatton Lofts were going to develop, but they pulled out after throwing a stunning party in the building! Carol then produced what can be seen as some of the most sought after apartments in Manchester.
Julie’s view on The Village
It’s one of the busiest areas in Manchester, there’s always something going on, so if you want to be in with the action this is the place for you!
The turnaround of property in this area isn’t as constant as in other areas of the city, there are a lot of long-standing tenants and owner-occupiers in this area.
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