Award‑winning co-operative design consultancy URBED will be gathering views on the future of Holyoake House, the historic Grade II listed building and Manchester home of co‑operation.
Co-operatives UK has commissioned a consultation on the future of Holyoake House and has selected co‑operative design and research agency URBED to lead the work.
URBED (Urbanism, Environment and Design) Ltd is a multi-disciplinary consultancy based in Manchester. With many years’ experience working for public, private and community sector clients, the URBED co‑op focuses on achieving environmental and social sustainability in urban areas.
The Holyoake House consultation will seek the views of the building’s tenants and wider Co-operatives UK members to understand what they’d like from Holyoake House and how it could be used to best serve the movement going forward. The results will then be considered, with a view to creating a viable future vision for the building. The consultation closes on 25 February,
Rose Marley, Co‑operatives UK CEO, said: “Holyoake House is an important, historic building that’s been a home for co‑operation for more than a century. We’re pleased to be working with URBED, our members and tenants to shape its future so that it can continue to serve the co‑op movement and proudly remain at the heart of our heritage.”
Helen Grimshaw, from URBED, said: “We’re looking forward to working with Co‑operatives UK on this consultation. As a co‑op, we feel privileged to work on such an important project for the co‑operative movement. We can’t wait to get started and to discover the potential to combine heritage and sustainability for the future of Holyoake House.”
The historic location is home to numerous co‑operatives and social enterprises. These include Co-operatives UK, the Co-operative College, the Association of British Credit Unions (ABCUL), Co-operative News and the Manchester office of Your Co-op Business Solutions. In early 2021, a community of social entrepreneur start‑ups, known as the Federation community, moved into the building from the nearby Federation building.
Built in 1911, using subscriptions from co‑ops across the UK, Holyoake House was erected in memory of co-operative activist George Holyoake, when he died in 1906. The movement decided to honour him by building a permanent headquarters for the Co‑operative Union.
The three‑storey building was designed by F.E.L. Harris – who also designed the nearby Hanover Building – and a plaque was erected on an outside wall, dedicated to George Holyoake’s memory. A collection of his letters, papers and other writings are held in the National Co‑operative Archive, which is also housed in the building.
Holyoake House was extended in the 1930s. In the Manchester Blitz of 1940, the training centre on the top floor was destroyed by an incendiary bomb. The building received its Grade II listed status on 20 June 1988.