The Toast Rack - Manchester Metropolitan University, Hollings Campus


A Manchester City Council report entitled "The Rationalisation and Development of the Manchester Metropolitan University Estate" dated July 24, 2013, said that, "The University is now reaching the final year of a £350m investment programme in creating new high quality learning environments, supported by key welfare and academic services administration in the city.  Within Manchester the intention has been to unify MMU into one central campus, to bring the Didsbury, Hollings, Aytoun and Elizabeth Gaskell campuses together with the existing All Saints campus to create one sustainable, central learning environment. .... This will see the new Hulme Campus accommodating the Institute of Education and the Faculty of Health, Psychology and Social Care from the current Didsbury and Elizabeth Gaskell Campuses. The Aytoun and Hollings Campuses will be housed within All Saints, in the new Business School and in the refurbished Cavendish Building. The new Business School and Student Hub opened in September 2012, the remodelled and rebuilt and the Arts and Design Building opened in April 2013, the Cavendish refurbishment completes this summer, whilst the Hulme Campus is scheduled to open in September 2014."

Regarding the Hollings Campus specifically the report adds, "The Hollings Building is a Grade II listed building which sits on a 3.72 acres site. It will be vacated in the Autumn of 2013. The University are in discussion with the City Council and are in discussion with English Heritage to agree a  development strategy for this asset. These discussions are ongoing. Given the buildings listing, its condition and the challenges that it presents in respect of creating an economically viable development proposition for this building, consideration is currently being given to engaging the market to establish if there are other viable opportunities which could be considered."


Below is a look at the Hollings Campus when it was still part of the University.

If you drive out of the city centre along Oxford Street it becomes Oxford Road and then Wilmslow Road.  As Wilmslow Road passes through Rusholme you pass Platt Fields Park on your right and across the street from the park you will see a building that Sir Nikolaus Pevsner described as "a piece of pop architecture if I ever saw one".

The building in question is part of the Manchester Metropolitan University's Hollings Campus but when it was built in 1959 it was the new home of the Hollings Domestic and Trades College, which had been teaching cookery and domestic science in various incarnations since 1901.

The buildings were designed by City Architect L. C. Howitt who clearly had a sense of humour because in designing two buildings for a domestic science college he made one look like a toast rack and the other a fried egg. 

Pevsner says of the building that it exhibits "a large number of very closely set steep angled concrete piers looping over at the top as parabolic arches.  The floors, owing to this, decrease in depth from bottom to top ...  The staircase windows slint like the arches."

A lower extension at the rear of the building, seen above, was built to provide workshops.

Manchester Metropolitan University says this of the Hollings Campus,  "Hollings is world renowned for its teaching in clothing and fashion, food, hospitality and tourism management. It has excellent facilities and strong links with industry to help prepare graduates for a wide range of career opportunities.

Central to the Faculty's work is the close relationship it enjoys with professional bodies and the industries in which students find employment, both in the UK and abroad. This ensures that courses are both vocationally relevant and provides opportunities for industrial experience and work placements."

Manchester Metropolitan University operates seven campuses across Manchester and into Cheshire.  Its long term plan is to close some of its outlying campuses and concentrate its activities in an ever expanding All Saints Campus, in Hulme.  Alice McKeegan reported in the Manchester Evening News on October 30, 2012, that, " The Fallowfield landmark – named for its distinctive roof and wedge shape – has been declared no longer fit for purpose by bosses at Manchester Metropolitan University. ... It has appointed property group DTZ to help sell off its surplus sites"