Westminster House - Portland Street

Westminster House is a large office building facing onto Portland Street between Aytoun Street and Minshull Street. 

It was designed by Fitzroy Robinson & Partners and built in 1973.  It comprises six storeys over a ground floor podium.  Today the building has a number of occupants including Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.  This wasn't always the case.

In 1974 changes in the Local Government Act led to the creation of the Greater Manchester County Council.  It was the top-tier administrative body for Greater Manchester.  This local government authority had responsibility for such matters as public transport, planning, emergency services and waste disposal.  The new governing body needed a home and today's Westminster House was their Greater Manchester County Hall.  The GMCC existed until 1986 when its powers were passed to the ten district councils of Greater Manchester.

A clue to the name of the building may be found in the 1849 map of the area.  At that time the site appears to have been a mixture of residential and commercial premises.  The Portland Street Silk Mill was prominent on Portland Street.  The "British Volunteer" and the "Smith's Arms" pubs stood on the corners of Silver Street and Major Street.  On Major Street we see "Westminster Place" and this may explain the name of the building that occupies the site today.

By 1886 the configuration on the buildings had changed although there were still pubs on the same corners.  Westminster Place had disappeared.  All residences had been swept away to be replaced by warehouses.

If you click on the link below you can see the buildings between Aytoun Street and Minshull Street on Portland Street in 1917.  The building in the middle of the block may well be the former Portland Street Silk Mill.

Portland Street between Aytoun Street and Minshull Street - 1917

The aerial photograph below was taken in May of 1953 and the buildings seen there are probably the ones shown in the map above.