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Palace Dome, Palace Hotel /

Inside the Refuge Assurance Building no expense was spared on materials, decoration or ensuring the men behind the company could work in the utmost comfort.  With electrical lighting throughout, central heating and one of the world’s first passenger lifts, the building announced the importance and success of the company in a quintessentially Victorian way.

Although appearing to be part of the original designs the glass dome, which now supports the grand chandelier lighting the space, was added as part of the extension to create the entrance hall in use today.  However, to the informed observer the old exterior gas light fittings, still affixed to the walls, belie the original incarnation of the space as an open-air courtyard ensuring the directors of the refuge were able to drive right up to the entrance and avoid the Manchester rain.

Reality Hack/Hidden Manchester for URBIS gallery by Andrew Brooks

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