(Formerly known as the GMEX centre
and Manchester International Conference Centre
(MICC)) is an exhibition and conference centre housed in a former railway station in Manchester
. The building was granted Grade I listed building
status in 1963, but has since been downgraded to Grade II* status.
Manchester Central railway station
The complex started life as Manchester Central railway station, one of the city's main railway terminals. It was built between 1875–80 and closed to passengers on 5 May 1969.
The G-Mex Centre
In 1982 construction work undertaken by Alfred McAlpine
commenced to convert the former railway station into an exhibition centre, and the G-Mex opened in 1986. G-Mex stood for the "Greater Manchester Exhibition Centre".
In 2001 the Manchester International Convention Centre (MICC) was added to the complex, with an 804 seat auditorium plus breakout rooms and Great Northern Hall.
During 2005 the company running the G-MEX and MICC was bought by Manchester City Council. In January 2007 the venue regained its old name of Manchester Central. Plans are currently being drawn up to extend the frontage down to the road boundary on Windmill Street.
The G-MEX Centre used to host high profile rock concerts, e.g. Factory Records Festival Of The Tenth Summer
in July 1986 celebrating the 10th anniversary of Punk (appearances of The Smiths
and New Order
) and Manchester's own James
in a 1990 performance. In June 1992 Irish
played the final indoor show of their elaborate Zoo TV Tour
at the G-MEX Centre. The concert also doubled as an event to close down the Sellafield
Nuclear Plant. G-MEX had a seating capacity for 9,500 people for end stage concerts. However it was expandable up to 17,500 for standing events. The G-MEX centre stopped hosting concerts in 1997 (the last one being performed by Oasis
in December 1997), due to the popularity and size of the nearby MEN Arena
which is Europe's biggest indoor concert venue. After a 9 year break, the venue was once again used as a concert venue in December 2006 with 2 shows by Snow Patrol
, followed by 2 homecoming shows by Morrissey
. Arctic Monkeys
also held gigs there in December 2007.
The G-Mex was also the venue for gymnastics, weightlifting, judo and wrestling during the 2002 Commonwealth Games. In September 2006 it was used by the Labour Party for their Annual Conference, moving away from the traditional seaside venue of Blackpool, Bournemouth or Brighton. In addition to the Labour Party, this venue has hosted such prestigious clients as the CBI, Ecofin, Lib Dem Party and, in April 2006, the Conservative Party. The centre will also host the 2008 Labour Party Conference.
- Radford, B. (1988) Midland through the Peak, Paddock Wood : Unicorn, ISBN 1-85241-001-9