Manchester Jewish Museum


Go Back

Corten and the new museum

MJM Exterior – Jan 2021

You may have spotted the rust-coloured façade of our new museum extension if you’ve driven down Cheetham Hill Road recently, but what is it? Surely the multi-million pound extension hasn’t rusted before it’s even opened?

The answer is Corten (also called COR-TEN, aka ‘weathered steel’). This beautiful copper-coloured material is the corrosion resistant cladding on our new extension, etched with intricate and ornate patterns (more information on our designs and their inspiration to come). Designed by our architects, Citizens Design Bureau, the corten beautifully compliments the slate roofing and red brick of our original 1874 synagogue building.

When compared to other steels, corten has a unique chemical composition that means it is resistant to weather conditions like rain, frost, sun and snow. When exposed it forms a protective layer which looks like rust, giving it it’s aesthetic quality, but is actually an ‘oxidation layer’.

With its contemporary looks, whilst simultaneously recalling Manchester’s proud industrial heritage, we hope our new museum provides an exciting addition to Manchester’s architectural landscape.

But we’re not unique in using Corten. Here are our top 5 Corten buildings in Manchester:


1) People’s History Museum

Top of our list has to be our friends at People’s History Museum with their corten clad building located at the edge of Spinningfields. This museum is the home of ‘ideas worth fighting for’, and the only museum in the UK dedicated to the history of British democracy. Photo from Peoples History Museum.

2) Parkway Gate

Next on our list has to be Manchester’s first corten building. Parkway Gate, designed by Ian Simpson, is a striking part of Manchester’s skyline with three large student accommodation buildings. Photo by Simon Glyn, 2009.

3) Ordsall Chord Railway Viaduct

Constructed in 2018, the BDP designed Ordsall Chord spans the River Irwell connecting the twin cities of Manchester and Salford. The undulating corten makes for an underappreciated Manchester landmark. Photo by Matthew Nichol Photography.

4) Hallé St Peter’s

Described as Ancoats’ ‘grace and beauty’ (Manchester Confidential), Hallé St Peter’s blends seamlessly with the red brick heritage of Ancoats as it houses part of Manchester’s most established cultural history: The Hallé Orchestra. Photo from Manchester Evening News.

5) River Street Tower

Finally we have River Street Tower, the tallest of Manchester’s Corten structures (and perhaps the most controversial). This student accommodation tower stands at 92 metres (302 feet) high, situated by First Street, just north of the Mancunian Way. Photo from Downing Students.


Music in our Synagogue: our second Synagogue Nights Season of music this March

Manchester Jewish Museum will be celebrating Jewish music with our new season of Synagogue Nights: intimate performances in our stunning 1874 Synagogue. From Klezmer ensembles to Baroque quartets, musical theatre and pop covers to Hebrew world jazz, we are showcasing Jewish music in all its diversity.

Manchester Jewish Museum launches Holocaust Memorial Day project with Imperial War Museums

On Holocaust Memorial Day 2022 we will launch a year-long project that will culminate on Holocaust Memorial Day 2023 with a public event and hosting a travelling exhibition sharing lesser known Holocaust and Second World War stories from across the UK. The project is part of Imperial War Museum’s Second World War & Holocaust Partnership Programme and will be working with local artist Becky Prestwich and young people from across Manchester.

Looking back on 2021

As 2021 draws to a close we just wanted to reflect on what an enormous year it’s been for the museum and some of the highlights. We’re excited for what next year will bring and just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who made it possible.

A more sustainable Manchester Jewish Museum – COP26 update

On Thursday 4 November we were proud to speak at The Carbon Literacy Project's Museum Sector Day as part of the COP26 Conference. We have been working with BuroHappold, Carbon Literacy Project and Museums Development NorthWest to build a more sustainable Manchester Jewish Museum for future generations to enjoy.

Chief Executive Max Dunbar to hand over the new Manchester Jewish Museum

After 10 years and a multi-million redevelopment and reopening, Manchester Jewish Museum Chief Executive Max Dunbar and Chair of the Trustees Andrew Singer QC will step down as they hand over the new museum to someone new, to lead the organisation during the next stage of its journey.

Yankl & Der Beanstalk revives Yiddish Pantomime once more

On Thursday 2 December Manchester Jewish Museum will be transported to the magical lands of Brick Lane and Hampstead with a bawdy and infectiously fun take on a classic Yiddish pantomime. We speak to director Samuel Ranger about how they are hoping to revive Yiddish pantomime for a new generation.