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Deansgate is a main road (the A56) through the city centremarker of Manchestermarker, Englandmarker. It runs roughly north–south through the western part of the city centre. At its northern end, Deansgate runs parallel with the River Irwell.

History and geography

The road is named after the lost River Dene, which may have flowed along the Hanging Ditchmarker connecting the River Irk to the River Irwell, at the northern end of Deansgate. ('gate' = Norse gata, way). It begins now at Victoria Street but that street was a 19th-century creation: at the time the east side of Deansgate was occupied by Victoria Buildings (ruined in World War II) on a triangular site (later a statue of Oliver Cromwell was placed at the northern corner commemorating Manchester's support for Parliament in the English Civil War).

It contains many shops including a large House of Fraser department store (known as Kendalsmarker from the 1830s until 2005), and the booksellers Waterstones along with many public houses and bars including the Moon Under Water, formerly the Deansgate Cinema (or ABC Deansgate). At , able to accommodate 1,700 customers, and employing 60 staff, it has been listed in The Guinness Book of Records as the largest public house in Britainmarker. Elliot House was once the Manchester Registry Office and before that the offices of the Corporation's Education Department.

The Great Northern Warehouse, Manchester
The northern end of the road used to adjoin a retail area known as The Shambles. This was badly damaged in the IRA bombingmarker in 1996. The area was eventually redeveloped and is home to several new buildings, including No.marker 1 Deansgatemarker and the Manchester branch of Harvey Nichols. Other recent additions to the Deansgate area include the Royal Bank of Scotland building, the Beetham Towermarker, and the redevelopment of the Great Northern Warehousemarker. These stand in contrast with more historical buildings, such as the John Rylands Librarymarker and the Barton Arcademarker shopping mall.The disused Manchester and Salford Junction canal runs directly underneath Deansgate and below the Great Northern Warehouse.

It is also home to the head offices of the Manchester Evening News and The Guardian newspapers. At the northern end of Deansgate it becomes Victoria Street, on which lies Manchester Cathedralmarker, and at the southern end is Deansgate railway stationmarker. At this point Deansgate connects with Bridgewater Viaduct and Chester Road (Whitworth Streetmarker West also meets it at this point). The section to the south of Peter Street was until the end of the 18th century known as Aldport Street (Aldport being the former name of the Castlefieldmarker area once separate from medieval Manchester).

By the late 19th century Deansgate had changed into an area of very varied uses: the northern end had shopping and substantial office buildings while further south were notorious slums and a working class area around St John's Church (St John Street remaining upper middle class). The Wood Street Mission began to address the social problems in 1869 and its work still continues in a very different form. From Peter Street southwards the eastern side was dominated by the viaducts of the Great Northern and Manchester South Junction Railways, while the Rochdale Canal crossed below Deansgate to connect with the other waterways beyond.


Deansgate Station: station frontage which features the previous "Knott Mill" name
Deansgate was for the first half of the 20th century an important tram route and subsequently carried numerous bus services. During the 1970s many of these were diverted elsewhere or separated into two services terminating in the City Centre and adjoining streets such as King Streetmarker were pedestrianised.

As it is one of the main roads that connects the northern and southern areas of Manchester, Deansgate has a great deal of traffic, and the many shops, pubs and bars ensure it is busy with pedestrians both during the day and late into the night.

In 2009 there were calls for traffic to be banned on Deansgate and for it to be pedestrianised. The calls were triggered in response to road works which closed parts of Deansgate. Some argue that the disablement of a major traffic route in Manchestermarker could have a damaging economic effect for the city whilst others argued a vehicle-free Deansgate would attract more shoppers.



  1. Cooper (2003), p. 52
  2. Parkinson-Bailey (2000), p. 287.
  3. Laurent (1793) Plan of Manchester and Salford illust. Bradshaw (1985), p. 20
  4. Heaton (1995)


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