Levenshulme in pictures: march to save the Arcadia

Article published: Tuesday, April 23rd 2013

Levenshulme campaigners took the fight to save their services to the streets once again on Sunday in a march against the proposed closure of their historic Arcadia sports centre.


All photos by local photographer Tony Gribben – see here for more examples  of his work

Mums and Dads, local kids and Roller Derby and Roller Hockey teams marched down Stockport Road against the destruction of the 100-year old rink, which its early days was once used by film legend Charlie Chaplin to play hockey while he was in the city to star at the nearby King’s Theatre in Longsight.

Recent months have seen flashmobs, rallies and late night occupations against service closures in the area. The campaign appeared to have met with partial success when negotiations with Manchester City Council resulted in the existing Levenshulme Baths being kept open for two years until a replacement is built.

But in a shock twist earlier this month, Town Hall officers revealed that the Arcadia would be torn down to make way for the new baths and library.

The council, which is cutting its budget by £80m over the next two years in response to the Coalition government slashing its funding, says that only the Arcadia site is big enough for the required facilities and car parking spaces.

Detailed proposals for the development are expected in the Summer, with the planning process expected to place in the Autumn.

Refurbishing the existing Levenshulme Baths site has been ruled out on the grounds of insufficient space and development costs which “would not deliver value for money”. The council also argues that there would be “significant challenges relating to disability access which would be costly to overcome” and says refurbishing the site would require closing facilities for 15 months.

A petition to save the Arcadia states, “This facility is loved and still used by a variety of groups throughout the week. Not only is this facility home to one of the best Roller Hockey Teams in the UK at Senior, U15, U11 and U9 levels, it is home to Arcadia Roller Derby, one of the fastest growing all female sports in the UK at the moment.

“It is home to football, Gaelic football, Zumba and numerous active lifestyles sessions. Along with the sports offering, this facility is widely accessed by the community with literally hundreds of children every weekend attending the centre for public roller skating and roller skating parties.

At the weekend, everyone who works at the Arcadia, is a volunteer, this special centre has created a real life family where no matter who you are, what you do and what you believe, you can be involved in something special.”

Richard Goulding

More: Council, Cuts, News


  1. Clearly Manchester’s councillors can’t be trusted. The cuts aren’t going to go away and the same or similar issues are only going to recur. The only way to preserve and enhance community facilities in Levenshulme and for local people is to set up their own parish council and take over the running of these facilities from Manchester so that they are secured for the long term. Communities have been increasingly and successfully responding to the democratic deficit in this way for many years.

    Comment by Stewart on May 7, 2013 at 11:24 pm
  2. Researching my family tree I came across an article in Charlie Chaplin’s biography showing what appears to be a local newspaper clipping with a picture of himself, Stan Laurel and Edward Coppin (later to become the stage manager for the famous Americam magician Harry Blackstone) and other members of the Fred Karnos hockey team from the KINGS THEATRE LONGSIGHT, (just before they all left for the USA). They were playing the Arcadia team at the Arcadia Skating Rink which included J Taylor (goal), E. Stanion (back), Birchall, Beatie and Standfast (forwards). A GRAND HOCKEY MATCH to be played at Arcadia Skating Rink Levenshulme on Saturday afternoon April 2nd. Bully Off at 4pm. I guess it must have been about 1906, but certainly over 100 years ago.

    Comment by Bruce Winter on September 16, 2013 at 10:41 pm

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