It was the first important building we would come to on the number 21 bus that told you we were entering the city proper and for more than twenty years I could see it as I looked from my office window at Gateway House.
It was opened in 1906 to replace the old station on Jackson’s Row and the site was chosen to be near the warehouses on Whitworth Street and Princess Street.
Whether this was some sort of premonition on the part of the Watch Committee I don’t know, but the station played a major role during the German bombing during World War Two. The heroism of the firemen was recognised by a visit by King George VI and the Duchess of York in 1942.
It was used as a training centre after the war and in 1952 it became the first centre that was equipped to record emergency telephone calls. It was also home to an ambulance station, the coroner’s court, a bank and even a gas-meter testing station.
But it inevitably outlived it usefulness and closed in 1986. There have been various plans to turn it into a hotel, none of which have come to fruition. The suspicion is that the owners, Britannia Hotels, are havering in the hope that the building will become so derelict that they can demolish it and redevelop the site.
But while it remains, I have taken some photos and include them in the gallery below.