Victoria Warehouse – Manchester

Location

Located a couple of miles from the City Centre. Take the tram to get there, just a short walk to the nearest stop with the new tram extension (open in late 2019) even closer. Limited car parking for major events so use www.parkopedia.co.uk for nearest availability. Manchester train station and international airport a cab ride away.

What's on offer

Where historic meets unconventional, cool and edgy. A former bonded warehouse offering a raw blank event canvas. Exposed brickwork, iron pillars and stone floors which could tell a story or two. The Bays – brand new event space with two adjoining areas, perfect for awards dinners, drinks receptions and networking events. Good delegate and guest flow in The Archives and The Cellars, popular with exhibitions and conferences. Smaller space in the form of The Skyhook with capacity of 70. Go supersize and use The Cotton Sheds which regularly stages concerts and corporate events for 1200+.

Why Book?

If it’s legal, not dangerous and you have the imagination, you can do it here! We are of course talking events! Big space for larger scale events, clients are attracted by the historic nature and unconventional surroundings. The venues client list is a famous brands’ “who’s-who”, testament to the excellent onsite delivery from an operations team who know what they are doing and who recognise that no two events are ever the same. Blank canvas in the main yes, but most of Victoria Warehouse (VW) rooms have excellent built in AV and subtle lighting systems. The food offering gets a big tick. VW’s own in-house catering company Grape and Grain provide imaginative and sensibly priced menu options.

STARTER FOR 10:

Big, big big. Stand at the entrance and you feel dwarfed under the shadow of this former Bonded and Cotton Warehouse. A true iconic throwback to Manchester’s industrial heritage and brought lovingly back to life from the midst of derelict wasteland by local business man David Cohen. David, – passionate about all things Manchester- saw it whilst running along the banks of the Bridgwater Canal and saw an opportunity!

Starting life as a centre for music, Victoria Warehouse is just as likely these days to host exhibitions, product launches and events for corporate household names including Mini, Land Rover, Kellogg’s and Virgin Media. It’s the perfect place for creative event producers to let their imagination run riot within raw blank canvas walls. The tag line “we are what you make us” neatly encapsulates the spirt of what this exciting venue is all about.

Victoria Warehouse is a large event space, which perhaps could scare a nervous event organiser. But don’t worry, you’re in very safe operational hands and friendly staff who’ve seen it all before and who are more than willing to guide and help every step of the way. However don’t run away with the idea that big is always beautiful and is all that is on offer. The Skyhook hosts many smaller informal meetings for around 50 and the unique intimate re-claimed cinema seats just 20 providing quirky breakout or private presentation space.

Perhaps if you looking for a venue that that offers a standard, pre-packaged event offering, you are might be looking in the wrong place. But if your aim is to ensure your delegates leave with unforgettable memories then we believe you’ve come to the right place. Read on.

WHY SO SPECIAL?

It’s fascinating to watch the faces of guests and delegates as they move around the building. Turn a corner and they’re surprised to see Asian statues – a nod to the storage of spice.  Or a line of recycled human sculptures made from nuts, bolts and re-cycled material.  You could be forgiven for thinking that you’re in some sort of museum.  But no, this is simply a special venue that is truly proud of its’ Mancunian past and one very much in touch with today’s happening event scene. 

Reclaimed Church organ pipes greet guests as they enter the pre-event/conference area adjacent to The Bays, a brand new 700sm events space with two adjoining areas.  Popular for awards dinners, drinks receptions and networking events for up to 400, the impressive pillars add a charm and not a hinderance to sight lines. 

Not many venues have an “urbanised basement” which possibly conjures up all sorts of unpleasant images! But don’t be put off as The Archives and The Cellars offers up some really flexible space either as individual rooms or as part of whole floor combo.  Private entry doors lead guests and delegates into a world of stripped back event walls.  The natural flow through the rooms and corridors is impressive and hence proves to be a popular area for exhibitions, receptions and conferences for between 100- 500.  You can even make as much noise as you want as the sound footprint does not extend or interfere with other clients. 

Back up on the ground floor and The Skyhook, a 70 person capacity informal meeting space affords great views through floor-ceiling windows of the famous Trafford Park chain sculpture.  A useful breakout space from The Bays or offering a completely different feel at night for drinks or dinner thanks to the coloured interior lighting systems. 

And then, just when you think you’ve seen it all, you realise that there’s still the “big daddy” giant space next door, namely the recently re-branded O2 Victoria Warehouse.  This former Cotton Shed built in 1925 has a multitude of dry hire space options.  The numbers are impressive. Eight separate SHEDS (rooms) can accommodate as a whole 5,000 people over 4,500 sqm. Hire exclusively or individually, The Cotton Sheds lend themselves to major brand launches, concerts and exhibitions.  But remember you will need a large production budget to bring any event to life as inhouse tech equipment/support is understandably limited due to the very nature of the venue itself. 

This is not the case back at Victoria Warehouse, where it should be noted that most of the event spaces have screens, projectors, PA systems and colour changing down lighters highlighting the majestic pillars. Throw in staging, lecterns, mics and relay screens and suddenly budgets are protected and not broken. 

However, irrespective of the event space wow, no large-scale event can be successful if the in house operational staff are not fully on their game.  Fortunately, Victoria Warehouse has a great General Manager who leads from the front and is passionate about service delivery.  Tom Brinkworth’s team knows how to deliver.  With live events and major brands there is no second chance to get things wrong.  Average a word that doesn’t cut it with any client, exceptional the only one appearing in their dictionary.  Tom’s team knows that no two events are ever the same and therefore work tirelessly hand in hand with each client to adapt the multi-faceted space for each event whatever the size.  It’s impressive to see.

GOOD TO KNOW!

  • A fascinating fabulous venue needs fantastic food.  Victoria Warehouse’s in-house award-winning Grape & Grain Catering Co. know the venue intimately, the type of events held and have the ability to creatively produce imaginative menus to reflect the event.  Street food in The Sheds, popcorn in The Cinema, fine dining in The Bays with proceeding canapés and champagne.  Themed dining is a speciality.  Check out the Forest Picnics and Alice in Wonderland menus – “curiouser and curiouser…” 
  • The quirky 20-seater cinema created from salvaged seats found in a Manchester cinema set for demolition can be hired on its own for small showings, presentations and party nights.  You don’t have to book the main rooms to enjoy a nostalgic screen experience. 
  • Toilets.  There’s lots of them – male and female.  Strange thing to include in a review?  Well it’s always worth checking out just what is available particularly if numbers exceed 1000. After all, you don’t want to inconvenience your guests. 
  • The new tram station Wharfside which is part of the city extension line will make it even easier later this year to get to Victoria Warehouse.

BEAR IN MIND…

  • Pillars. There’s lots of them.  Ordinarily, pillars in a conference or event room can put off event bookers.  Concerns over sight lines can be a real issue.  But the Victoria Warehouse is clever in how it manages delegate numbers, understanding exactly what can and can’t work.  Repeater screens solve any presentation viewing challenges and rarely is there a complaint from clients. 
  • With the exception of The Skyhook, all other events spaces have no natural light.  On the surface a negative.  However because of the rustic feel of the building and the fact that many events creatively incorporate a theme, you don’t get the feeling of being “hemmed in”.  Plus the venue have cleverly incorporated vary-colour up lighters around every pillar which creates a warm intimate feeling where the colour wash can change to reflect the mood of the event. 
  • There are only a few bedrooms available at the Victoria Warehouse which are basic!  But there are over 2000 bedrooms within 5 minutes of the venue offering a range of budget to 5 star options.
  • Car parking is limited – use www.parkopedia.co.uk or go by tram.

ANYTHING ELSE?

  • Worried about being freezing cold in winter and boiling hot in Summer?  Relax, Victoria Warehouse has great heating and air conditioning systems that work very well! 
  • Lights camera action.  A great option for media interviews with iconic backdrops. Advertising campaign. Launches of new products and brands.  VIP photo shoot.  A regular haunt of Manchester United. 
  • Genuine plans for a 200+ bedrooms to be added onsite – watch this space.

IT’S A WRAP – SERVICE IS THE SECRET

For any high-profile event, conference or launch it has to go right and right first time.  And that’s why with any impressive venue it’s imperative to look behind the scenes and see what support you will have as the organiser once the contract has been signed.  Dynamo GM Tom Brinkworth installs confidence across his team.  He knows the importance of customer service and delivery.  And his team buy into this philosophy.  It’s so noticeable from the time you are given a warm Manchester welcome at reception through to the in-house maintenance manager who chats with such passion and enthusiasm about his refurbished historic pillars. It’s this pride, coupled with real attention to detail that makes the Victoria Warehouse a venue that should be on anybody’s wish list if it is a statement you want to make.