The first phase of this Grade II* listed red brick and terracotta building was designed for the Refuge Assurance Company by Alfred Waterhouse and built 1891-5. The inside was of Burmantofts faience and glazed brick. The ground floor was one enormous open business hall.
It was extended, with a striking 217 foot tower, along Oxford Street by his son Paul Waterhouse in 1910-12. It was further extended along Whitworth Street by Stanley Birkett in 1932.
It was converted to a hotel (by Richard Newman) in 1996, and is now the Palace Hotel.