The heart of Manchester’s shopping district was located in the Northern Quarter.
Manchester was known as the centre of the cotton and textile industry, gaining the name ‘Cottonopolis’, but it also played a huge part in the manufacture of flint glass.
Our building first opened its doors in 1873. This popular city-centre shopping hub was filled with markets known as the Smithfield Markets.
Our building was part of the retail fish market and was home to 40 traders with stalls and offices at weekly rentals.
The Smithfield Markets closed their doors after 100 years of trading. Trading ceased due to the increasing competition from the newly opened Arndale Shopping Centre.
As the majority of the markets were demolished, the remaining disused retail fish market was to be converted into Manchester Craft Village - a creative space for local makers and visitors.
Work took four years to complete, with restoration and renovation taking place throughout the building.
After 4 years of conservation, the building reopened its doors to the public.
The premises, owned by Manchester City Council, has been in operation as a venue for craft ever since. Manchester Craft Village played its part in the regeneration of this area. In fact, the phrase ‘The Northern Quarter’ was rumoured to be coined in our building!
Initially operating as an artists’ cooperative, the Centre became a not-for-profit limited company with a voluntary Board of Directors, changing its name from Manchester Craft Village to Manchester Craft and Design Centre.
Manchester Craft and Design Centre won ‘Best independent Retailer’ for the second time at the Manchester Tourism Awards.
Read this MEN article about the success of the Northern Quarter in 2013
The Centre became a charity, supporting our work to engage audiences with craft and design.
We commissioned a new mural on the side of our building on Copperas Street with the help of residents from the Smithfield Estate. The mural by Hammo is inspired by the story of Jimmy Kelly, a fishmonger who looked after the cats after the markets closed down.
MCAD is Manchester’s space for craft, making and community
We promote craft in all its forms, expanding the definition and relevance of craft for everyone. We nurture and develop emerging and established talent, support viable creative careers, and showcase innovative and ambitious craft practices.
MCAD is a place of enterprise, production and creativity and reflects the rich diversity of its 21st century communities. We welcome everyone to experience and engage with making and our creative community. We safeguard a space for everyday creativity in the heart of the Northern Quarter and look outwards beyond our building.
Kate Day led Manchester Craft Design Centre for almost 15 years. Creating a space where craft, creativity and communities could thrive. She was a passionate advocate for crafts and audiences, a dedicated and determined director and a dear friend. We were all excited to deliver the next phase of our plans for MCAD; together.
Devastatingly, Kate passed away in June after a short illness.
Thank you to everyone for your messages of sympathy & love. Our hearts go out to all of Kate’s family and friends. We will miss her terribly. Always. We promise to honour Kate’s memory and her creative vision for the future.
Manchester Craft and Design (MCAD) is a registered charity.
We are working towards a Board of Trustees that is representative of the diversity of 21st Century Britain and that closely reflects the diverse communities we work with. We have a separate Board of Directors for our trading arm, MCAD Enterprises.
Julie Platt (Chair)
Head of Development at the Scottish Association for Marine Science
Independent Maker: Lettercarver, Typographer, Sculptor
Group Head of Collection Services, Science Museum Group
Director, People’s History Museum
Creative, Digital & Tech Founder and Innovation & Growth Champion
Professor Martyn Evans
MMU Director of Manchester School of Art and Professor of Design
Marketing and Behaviour Change Consultant
Heritage & Culture Consultant