Situated on Levenshulme high street, Station South first opened as Levenshulme South Railway Station in 1892 and was part of the Fallowfield Loop line until the late 1950s. When the station closed, the building was used as a window shop, a television repair shop, and a short-lived Cash and Carry, its elegant windows and wooden beams covered in various hoardings.
The building was vacant and in disrepair for several years before Station South CIC decided to take on the project to transform it. Combining their interests and skills, the three directors joined forces to fulfill their shared vision to create a hub from which they could run cycling activities, community events, and serve food and drink. Now, with support from the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF), the beautiful Victorian building has been restored into a destination cycle café, bar, and bike workshop, offering a space for the people of Levenshulme to come together, with a focus on improving health and wellbeing within the community.
Image: Opening event at Station South. Photo by Jody Hartley for Station South.
The building spans the former railway cutting, the Fallowfield Loop - a 9km traffic-free greenway running to Chorlton. While the new bike workshop offers repairs, parts, and services, the café/ bar serves a variety of refreshments, making Station South the perfect resting spot for cyclists and families walking the near eight mile route. The building also acts as a community hub, offering a range of events for all ages, such as DJ sets, live music, and children’s disco brunches.
Station South CIC are supportive of Levenshulme Bee Network, a local scheme that aims to reduce and calm traffic, consequently helping to improve walking and cycling routes and encourage more people to take up active travel. It is hoped that the newly restored cycle café will further support the promotion of cycling in the area, encouraging a healthier lifestyle amongst the community and helping to reduce pollution levels, which is a significant issue in Manchester.
External works to create an accessible pathway connecting Station South to the Fallowfield Loop and develop the outside space into a sustainable urban garden are due to begin later this Spring. This will provide access to much-needed green space on the traffic-heavy A6. More plans include the creation of a large outdoor terrace and space for people of all ages to learn how to ride bikes, once again encouraging more people to get involved with cycling.
As early-stage supporters of this innovative project, the AHF has awarded three grants to Station South CIC since 2017, including a capital grant in 2020 through the Transforming Places through Heritage programme, funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport. This helped to support capital works, including the restoration of the rear viewing platform, glazing of the internal windows, the staining and decoration of the restored timber ceilings, the reinstatement of a solid floor, and metal work for the fencing, entrances, and gates to the site.