The Mancunion

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Name revealed for Manchester’s new public square

The Co-operative crowdsourced the new name for a new public square in the the £800 million city centre development NOMA


After consulting the Mancunian populace for their favourite idea, NOMA’s new public square which is nearing the end of its construction was finally given a name last week: Sadler’s Yard.

In July the Co-Operative Group launched a competition for the public to name the new public realm at the heart of the Co-Operative’s £800 million NOMA development. Having received just under 700 entries the suggestions were judged on their ‘originality and rationale’. David Pringle, the Co-Operative’s Director of NOMA stated, “there have been many examples of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding but this is crowd-naming.”

Proposals included ‘Turing’, a tribute to Manchester’s Alan Turing and his groundbreaking work for modern computing as well as ‘Cotton’, a nod to the city’s history as the epicenter of the global cotton empire during the nineteenth century.

Sadler’s Yard, has been named after James Sadler, a pastry chef and the first man to make a manned balloon flight in Manchester in 1785.

Born in 1753, Sadler became the first Englishman to fly when his homemade balloon took flight from Christ Church Meadows, Oxford in 1784. He went on to pursue another four ascents within a year, the first of which was again from Oxford. An ambitious second in Surrey—it was his original intention to reach France but travelled as far as the Thames.

The final two trips were taken from Manchester, his final being his most successful. He travelled a total of 50 miles and landed in Pontefract, after which he was dragged a further two and in doing so caused himself serious injury.

It is noted that he took off “from a field behind a gentleman’s house” which is today known as Balloon Street situated next to the new square. Sadler passed away in Oxford, 1828 having survived 50 flights, three of which were at royal request.

Director of NOMA at the Co-operative Group David Pringle said: “We are proud of the new name and believe that the people of Manchester will take it to their hearts.

“We are looking forward to the first event in Sadler’s Yard, which is the official launch event in October.  We plan to bring a series of enjoyable and interesting events to Sadler’s Yard from the end of the year and throughout 2016 and beyond.”

Being developed over 10 – 15 years, NOMA is a £800 million city centre scheme spanning 20 acres—a third of a square mile—featuring a multitude of office spaces, homes, shops and leisure facilities across its four million square feet.

New additions to Manchester also include a new £110 million arts ‘neighbourhood’ planned off Quay Street which will be used as a base for the Manchester’s International Festival’s array of productions with the aim to entice as wide an audience as possible.

Sir Richard Leese, Manchester council leader, stated that the new venue would be capable of housing “the Royal Opera House in the morning and Warehouse Project in the afternoon.”

Building work for the new arts neighbourhood is due to begin at the beginning of 2017 in order to open in July 2019 in time for that year’s Manchester International Festival.

Sadler’s Yard will open this October.