Trafford Press and Vino Converted Appartments - July 2021

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EdCrane

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A bit of an unplanned explore. I was just out on a walk and curiosity got the better of me and ended up in the Trafford Press Ltd and Veno buildings. Had a little wonder and took some photos, but only had my phone at hand to capture the visit.

I had a look online and it appears there story is another case of dying industries, cowboy developers and just a general lack of responsibility taken by anyone. This is what I found ourt about the buildings.

The buildings are part of the Empress Conservation Area that covers part of Stretford that became a big part of Manchester’s industrial growth during the C19th.

The Veno building, was once a pharmaceutical company founded by William Henry Veno (born William Reynard Varney in Castle Douglas, Renfrewshire). He established a company in the US before returning to Britain and founded the Veno drug Company in Manchester in 1898. In 1925 the company was sold to Beecham Estate and Pills Ltd. In the 60s the building was under the name Progress House and was home to the Co-Operative Press Limited, later to become Trafford Press. Like Manchester’s Royale building though, the name VENO remained on top of the building and is still on it today. It was also when it was covered white hiding the red brick façade underneath.

Trafford Press was the former printing arm of the Co-Op, before being brought by Pillans & Waddies. The company dates back over 140 years. From some OS maps it looks like the area was a cottage with some land in the 1890s and in maps from the 1900s and 1930s it is just labelled as Veno buildings, but not clear if the current buildings are the same ones from that period.

In 2004 the Manchester operations were shut down at the loss of 38 jobs, closing the sites for the first time.

In 2011 Freshstart Living brought the former headquarters planning a £9m development with 116 apartments across 5 buildings (the two original buildings and 3 new ones to be built), over two years. They had already sold 2/3 of the apartment before starting to build to buy to let landlords. These were marketed as cheap opportunity for “student pods” with promising returns on investment and guaranteed income for years.

In 2013 the company was running into financial difficulty with the collapse of FSL Properties Trafford Press the division that owned the site. Freshstart claimed this was due to mistakes made with the contracts from a law firm and some sales had fallen through. From the administrators report there was severe problems with the development mainly around safety issues and the current residents had to be evacuated. This was then taken over by a new company, Absolute Living Developments of which the previous Freshstart CEO was a director. After some more refurbishments the tenants were allowed back in. This company went into liquidation in 2016, with the buildings taken over by another company.

After the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire the fire protection was again exposed as inadequate and the building was finally abandoned by those who had brought apartments. I saw a fire safety order from Oct 2017 so action happened around 4 months after the Grenfell fire. Reports suggest it was fully abandoned by 2018, so has been left to it's own devices for around 3-4 years.

Since then the building is being sold off to liquidators, the previous freshstart CEO is attempting to block this sale. Investors are trying to get their money back and the building has been occupied by squatters. And then myself ending up there to have an explore. No one was around at the time, potentially people had been there recently, but couldn’t be sure if it is fully abandon now or not.

It was definitely in a sad state of distress. Given that it was allowed to be occupied being powered by a generator and various other aspects not up to regulation, it’s hard to pinpoint how much of what you see in this report happened since it was abandoned in 2018. (I’m even questioning the garden that has appeared in one of the rooms. Anyway, I’ve rambled on a lot, I’ll show the rest mainly through the quick snaps I took.

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Front of the Veno part of the complex

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Trafford Press Ltd front

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Rooms have been serverly damaged in the Trafford Press part and left as a mess

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One apartment nature has tried to reclaim

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The nail in the coffin for the occupants

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Furniture and fittings had been dumped in the back of the building

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Inside the Vino building

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I think this was part of the expansion?

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All vacated now

So that was my little visit. NOt the best quality photos, but an interesting visit and one I've not seen on here so thought was worth sharing and got to learn a bit of the history of Manchester that I didn't know about.
 

Roderick

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Great preamble and great pictures, perfectly captured the feel of he place for me anyway.
 

Hayman

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Great preamble and great pictures, perfectly captured the feel of he place for me anyway.
Thanks for showing the results of your visit. Curious set of cut pipes. As for "The Veno building, was once a pharmaceutical company founded by William Henry Veno (born William Reynard Varney in Castle Douglas, Renfrewshire)" - what made him change his name to Veno? Just to be immediately linked with the brand name he'd invented? Another good looking building with no obvious re-use.
 

EdCrane

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Thanks for showing the results of your visit. Curious set of cut pipes. As for "The Veno building, was once a pharmaceutical company founded by William Henry Veno (born William Reynard Varney in Castle Douglas, Renfrewshire)" - what made him change his name to Veno? Just to be immediately linked with the brand name he'd invented? Another good looking building with no obvious re-use.
There's not much online about him so it's hard to figure out the exact reasoning, but it did appear he created the brand Veno first and then later decided to change his surname to help market it. He had worked in advertising early on in his career so what you suggested is very plausible for what he may have been thinking.
 

Hayman

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There's not much online about him so it's hard to figure out the exact reasoning, but it did appear he created the brand Veno first and then later decided to change his surname to help market it. He had worked in advertising early on in his career so what you suggested is very plausible for what he may have been thinking.
Thanks, Ed. And Veno would stand out in the telephone directory.
 

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