About

The First Street Estate which extends to 20 acres is owned by PATRIZIA, a leading European real estate investment manager, founded in Germany in 1984 by Wolfgang Egger, Chief Executive and majority shareholder.

The company has been listed on the German stock exchange since 2006 and has offices throughout Germany and across Europe.  Employing c.600 staff, PATRIZIA Group is active in more than 15 countries and covers all asset classes.  PATRIZIA’s expertise includes fund management, investment management, corporate finance, development and asset management. PATRIZIA’s UK business is headquartered in London and operates with 5 regional offices across the UK.  To date, PATRIZIA UK has invested over £1.5bn in the UK and is active in the residential sector as well as the commercial real estate sector with significant experience across Europe and is a committed, long term value investor and developer. At the forefront of the company’s priorities is its contribution to the ongoing success of Manchester by continuing to develop and regenerate the First Street neighbourhood into a prosperous cultural, commercial and residential hub for the city. You can learn more about PATRIZIA here www.patrizia.ag

History

From 1825 for more than 100 years, the site was home to the Gaythorn Gas Works and gas production continued until 1929 by which time the plant was regarded as outdated and it converted to a gas distribution point.

What is now known as the Number One office building was first erected for the British Council which they occupied between 1992 and 1995, and in 1997 BT leased the building until it was acquired and underwent a complete refurbishment in 2007, taking it back to its core and adding two floors.  This coincided with a huge remediation programme to prepare the remainder of the site for development, and with a Manchester City Council endorsed masterplan in place, the area is now home to First Street.

More than most cities, Manchester has a long history of inventiveness, with many firsts and famous people who have shaped the city and its culture.  The people featured here showcase Manchester’s rich creative history; people that join the past and the present, with a mix of well-known celebrities alongside some perhaps lesser known personalities which carry weight and substance.

Tony Wilson Place

Born in 1950, the Mancunian maverick, Granada TV personality, Factory Records creator and talent discoverer (to name but a few of his titles), justifiably deserves to take centre stage here on First Street at Tony Wilson Place.

After graduating from Jesus College, Cambridge Tony began work as a TV presenter. Heading up Granada TV’s 1970s music show, ‘So it Goes’ Tony brought the punk rock movement into people’s living rooms. Bands such as Joy Division, New Order and the Sex Pistols became household names thanks to Tony’s legacy; a legacy that has left a perpetual mark on pop culture.
Tony loved Manchester and loved making things happen. Manchester has always been a city for experimenting, for pushing boundaries and striving to find out what the next big thing is and Tony’s personality matched this perfectly. He made Manchester exciting.

He was a fascinating, fearless character with a charming persuasiveness. Combining his industrious ethic, charismatic arrogance and voracious Mancunian pride Tony was a constant source of erupting ideas that would shake the very cultural industry in which he was so immersed.
Tony’s optimism and eye for talent saw him introduce acts that hadn’t been seen before. The Stranglers, The Clash and Mancunian grown The Buzzcocks all featured on ‘So It Goes’. A notable performance by Iggy Pop had to be cancelled by ITV due to his outrageous swearing.

The infamous 1976 Free Trade Hall gig is just a small fragment that contributes to the Tony Wilson legacy. The performance, attended by only 40 people and at 60p a ticket marked a significant moment in musical history. It was here that Tony gave the Sex Pistols their break and sparked the beginning of the punk era, and is also where he met Joy Division’s Ian Curtis who he would later sign to Factory Records.

In 1978 Tony Wilson established Factory Records and in 1982 the Haçienda, which Tony founded and manged, opened its doors giving birth to “Mad-chester”. The “Mad-chester” scene may be over but Tony has had a lasting impact on the city.

Not only was Tony a mesmerizing spokesperson but he was an inspirational, self-proclaimed leader and innovator who engaged with and influenced the hearts and minds of his audiences. Rather than move to London he remained with his fellow Mancunians and encouraged many to be aware of the contributions they could make from the North. Peter Saville, Factory Record’s co-owner, said: “Tony created a new understanding of Manchester; the resonance of Factory goes way beyond the music. Young people often dream of going to another place to achieve their goals. Tony provided the catalyst and context for Mancunians to do that without having to go anywhere." 

Today Manchester has a number of annual literature, arts and music festivals. Tony had a flair for recognising the talent and inventiveness of others. His “In the City” Festival and international music convention not only brought light to his budding discoveries but educated the council in recognising that these socio-cultural events would bring investment in the city – culturally and financially.

With millions of visitors each year, Manchester is a must-see for tourists. With so much investment being made in the North if Tony were alive today we’re sure his busybody antics would be prevalent. For it was through the sheer genius, confidence and personality of ‘Mr Manchester’ that the momentum was generated to put Manchester firmly on the UK’s cultural map.

Every city needs a believer and Tony Wilson, the local hero, has become engrained in the very history that was the blueprint of all that enticed him.

It is only fitting then that we named our prominent central plaza (aptly located next HOME, the centre of international contemporary art) after one of the greatest 20th century northern figures. Not only has he left his mark on Manchester, but his name resonates in the very institutional fabric of all that makes the North great.

Isabella Banks Street

Born in 1821 Isabella Banks was a 19th century poet and novelist and is widely-known for her biography of Jabez Clegg, otherwise known as ‘The Manchester Man.’

Isabella grew up in what today is known as Manchester’s Northern Quarter with very politically active parents. Isabella herself, as a result, was extremely outspoken on women’s rights. She was involved in various campaigns and was a member of a number of political committees. Overall, she inspired many through her writing and led through her political activities.

Isabella was an incredibly talented writer and had numerous books published. Her most famous piece- focusses on the life of ‘The Manchester Man’ and how he rose from an unskilled apprentice to an accomplished master. Many believe that this mirrors the story of our city and how it evolved from an ordinary, underinvested city to an unconventional, bubbling hub of life. Her writing included themes about how the working class improved themselves through hard work and dedication and, in turn, improved Manchester as a city. 

The Manchester Guardian published a poem of Isabella’s in 1837 and this spurred her on to write novels, books and poems that influenced the people of Manchester.

Interestingly, Isabella is linked to Tony Wilson. The phrase, “Mutability is the epitaph of words / Change alone is changeless / People drop out of the history of a life as of a land though their work or their influence remains” is written on Tony’s tombstone. These are lines from her novel ‘The Manchester Man’.

James Grigor Square

James Grigor Square is named after an unsung hero who played a crucial role in the renaissance of Manchester City Centre.

Born in 1930 James Grigor went on to become the chairman of the Central Manchester Development Corporation (CMDC). The CMDC was established in the late 1980s to develop parts of eastern Manchester. As chairman, James’ legacy includes the £43m restoration of Bridgewater Hall which paved the way for a further £100m of investment in an underprivileged area near Manchester Central Convention Complex. It’s been said that he is one of the main reasons why there was so much investment in certain areas of Manchester during the 1980s and 1990s.

James’ determination to improve regeneration across Manchester saw him back investment in Canal Street - a courageous move at the time due to the Conservative government’s hostility to the LGBT community. James also funded a programme dedicated to cleaning up Manchester’s canals - creating a better and safer environment.

His legacy can be seen in places like the iconic Bridgewater Hall and in helping to attract investors to the city. James supported efforts to save Ducie House - a building that’s home to numerous businesses including graphic designers, film producers and artists - providing a perfect spot for new and up-and-coming businesses to establish themselves in Manchester.

James created the foundations of the creative, vibrant city we know today. We hope that by recognising his achievements with the street naming it will inspire those who visit our creative space to find out more about the invaluable service he provided in the rapid development of our city. James’ endless philanthropy will continue to have an effect on numerous Manchester districts and professions.

He allowed our culture to grow through investment and never shied away from a challenge or chance to improve his city.

Annie Horniman Street

Annie Elizabeth Fredericka Horniman born in 1830, was theatre manager and patron of the first regional theatre company in Britain located at the Gaiety Theatre on Peter Street in Manchester.

Coming from a wealthy background, Annie had a good quality education but was rarely taken to the theatre as it was considered sinful. However, at the age of 14, her governess took her to see ‘The Merchant of Venice’ at The Crystal Palace and this ignited her passion for the theatre.

Annie went to University to study Fine Art, which she didn’t enjoy and her attention subsequently turned to the theatre. Her favourite performances were those of Wagner and Ibsen. This interest in theatre was to have significant influence on her later adult life.

Starting off as a quiet girl, she soon grew into an independent woman - taking part in outrageous-at-the-time activities such as smoking publicly and riding a bicycle (gasp!), showing the outlandish spirit that made Manchester the city it is today.

When she was older, Annie began to support and fund plays in various theatres - made possible by her grandfather’s money and legacy in the tea industry. Eventually, she purchased The Gaiety Theatre on Peter Street in 1908, which could be seen as one of her greatest achievements.

The Gaiety Theatre was the first of its kind – a ‘regional repertory theatre’ which meant that it had a range of plays at the ready and 24/7. By doing this, Annie Horniman was representing the fresh, ever-changing attitude of the city. 

Through her theatre and contacts, Annie was able to support and encourage numerous actors and writers such as Allan Monkhouse and Yeats. 

A few years after Annie bought the theatre, the company went on a tour to America and Canada - showing that Annie’s influence spread much further than just Manchester.

As well as her deep involvement with theatre culture and her desire to break social norms Annie, like Isabella Banks, stood for women's suffrage as well as sexual equality. She soon became well-known for her speeches on women’s suffrage and rights - as well as tying this in with her views on theatre. Two years after Annie purchased the theatre she was honoured with a degree of MA by Manchester University - showcasing her talent and entrepreneurship that had led to the success of the theatre company. 

The theatre was open until 1921, when it was sold to a cinema company, but Annie’s legacy lives on - not only in the memories of her plays that will be passed on and reproduced in other theatre - but through those who walk down Annie Horniman Street every day. 

Annie Horniman Street can be found alongside the Q-Park multi-storey car park and behind high-end student apartments, VITA.

Jack Rosenthal Street

Ever wondered who the man behind Jack Rosenthal Street is? Here we take a closer look.

Jack Rosenthal, born in 1931, was a talented playwright who composed more than 150 screenplays and films in his lifetime. He also worked on the age-old classic Coronation Street for 129 episodes so it’s no surprise Jack Rosenthal made our list.

Growing up in Manchester, Rosenthal was born into a Jewish family - and was incredibly proud of his roots, indeed his Jewish heritage proved to be the inspiration for many of his screenplays and films - such as ‘Bar Mitzvah Boy’ and ‘The Evacuees’.

As a young lad Jack was evacuated to Blackpool with his two brothers and was apparently miserable there - perhaps making his love for Manchester all the stronger. He studied English Literature at Sheffield University before completing his National Service in the Royal Navy. Jack soon returned to Manchester and joined Granada Television and after watching numerous episodes of Coronation Street, he asked to be a writer. At that time Coronation Street was broadcasted every night. After showing his talent and skill Jack became a regular writer on the programme and shaped some of the legendary episodes that are still remembered today. Jack then went on to write for shows such as ‘That Was The Week That Was’, and ‘Ready When You Are, Mr McGill’.
Another of his famous scripts was for the 1986 television film ‘London’s Burning’. The film was so successful that it ended up being turned into a television series which ran for 14 years.
Jack won numerous awards in his lifetime including three BAFTAs, for his work on ‘Bar Mitzvah Boy’, ‘The Evacuees’ and ‘Spend, Spend, Spend’. He was honoured with an OBE in 1994 to acknowledge how his writing touched the people of Manchester, the UK and across the world. As well as these prestigious awards Jack also won Writer’s Guild Best Series for his production of ‘The Lovers’ and the TV Critics’ Circle Best Play ‘Another Sunday and Sweet’.

Jack was a master at creating content for a wide range of ages and cultures. He was involved with projects such as the blockbuster animated film, “Chicken Run” and he also co-wrote the iconic film, “Yentl” with Barbra Streisand.

Jack will be remembered for the impact that his plays have had on addressing Jewish stereotypes, especially in the mainstream media. His name is now immortalised at First Street and his widow the legendary actress Maureen Lipman proudly unveiled his street name when First Street opened in May 2015. He will be truly remembered by his witty, refreshing screenplays and films that continue to be recalled, watched and recreated to this day.