Media City UK - Salford

Across the Manchester Ship Canal from Daniel Liebskin's Imperial War Museum a huge new development is nearing completion in October 2010.  This is Media City, a colaboration between Central Salford Urban Regeneration Company, Peel Holdings, North West Regional Development Agency and Salford City Council. It is described as, "200 acres of space for an explosion of new media and creative industries."  Among its future tenants will be the BBC.  When it is finished it will offer, "... A new network of tightly knit streets, squares and boulevards will cascade down into a huge waterfront piazza; a place to watch the sunset, enjoy a drink or a concert, and have some great conversations."  It will be home to a number of BBC departments including Sport, Children's, BBC Radio 5 Live and Future Media & Technology.  This will involve moving operations from the existing facilities on Oxford Road in Manchester and relocation from London.

The new "city" is located beside the former Dock Number 9, now named North Bay, Huron Basin and Erie Basin.

1.  The Pie Factory

The Pie Factory actually was a pie factory before its conversion into a state of the art media production facility.  It opened in 2007 and features three large sound stages.   Since opening it has become a popular location for shooting everything from films to commercials.


2.  The University of Salford

Salford University will be a significant occupant of the site.  They say that, "In 2011, the University of Salford will open a unique digital learning, teaching and research space at MediaCityUK. We will be located at the heart of six national BBC departments and hundreds of independent creative, digital and media organisations. Over 1,500 students will enjoy exceptional opportunities to work with media professionals using the very latest industry specified equipment, studios and labs. This will place them in prime position for digital and media careers."


3.  The Park


4.  The Metrolink Station

The Media City UK Metrolink Station has been added to the Eccles line and sits between the Harbour City and Broadway stations.  It brings passengers into the piazza and park areas of the complex.


5.  The Piazza

The Media City website says this of the piazza, "MediaCityUK’s piazza has been specially designed to provide an outdoor arena capable of accommodating a whole range of different happenings. With enough room for more than 5,000 people and access to a huge screen on the front of the studio block, it will be suitable for everything from concerts to winter markets."


6.  BBC Offices

The windows of the BBC Office Block have been decorated to look like a huge aquarium.  The display outlines the BBC services that will occupy the building and invites interested parties to enquire about employment opportunities.  It also makes it clear that they will begin moving in by the middle of 2011.


7 - 8.   BBC Offices and "The Heart" Apartment Tower

"The Heart" is a 22 storey apartment tower that rises above one of the BBC's new office blocks.


9.  The Media City Footbridge


10 - 11 & 12.  The Studio Block, The Office Tower and the Holiday Inn Tower

The Holiday Inn hotel occupies the northern tower of the Studio Block.  It offers 218-bedrooms, a bar/lounge, restaurant, meeting rooms, gym facilities and free WI-FI.

The Studio Block will include 7 high definition television studios and two audio studios.  One of the audio studios will be dedicated to the needs of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.  The building also offers: sound and vision control rooms; dressing rooms; make-up rooms; workshops; set storage; and green rooms.


13 - 14.  BBC Offices & the "Number One" apartment tower

The Number One tower offers a range of one and two bedroom apartments arranged over 22 floors.


Some more views


The history of the site

The Manchester Ship Canal was opened in 1864 by Queen Victoria.  My sketch, from the 1896 map of Salford, shows that there were three docks on this side of the Trafford Park Road bridge, Docks 6, 7 and 8.   Beyond Dock 8 was the Manchester Racecourse.

By the time the 1906 map was published the racecouse was gone and a 9th dock had been added.  The image below shows the view at that time.  The grassed area is a remnant of the racecourse.

There was also a plan to add a tenth dock on the land beyong dock 9.  This plan was never executed.

Instead, as the aerial photographs from the 1940s below indicate, the land was used for the storage of goods unloaded from the ships using Dock Number 9.  This was to become the site for Media City UK.

Media City Under Construction

Below April 2008

Below images taken in August 2009

Below February 2010

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