Affleck’s Palace is a quirky, little traders market set in the heart of the Northern Quarter Manchester. It’s a hidden gem to someone unfamiliar with Manchester, boasting a fun and creative space as well as numerous wacky, wonderful trinkets and even a barbers inside!
Whilst the inside consists of multiple of these fabulous businesses, the outside has concealed the magic of the four floors since 1982, however, since the building has been around since the 1800s, you can imagine the historic, orange brick work and gapingly large windows of the building. Together with the impressive structure, the building now adorns a series of mosaic artworks portraying Manchester’s very own economic, cultural and sporting histories. Alongside the interesting pieces of mosaic, the building holds an impressively large, steel tree feature sprawling across one side of the building since 2011. The unique building, placed on a corner of Church Street, fits right into the warm and eclectic feel of Manchester’s very own, must see, Northern Quarter!
The name Affleck’s Palace, is a nod to the roots of the traders market, and comes from the original Affleck and Brown, which originated in the 1860s as a drapery business. Whilst the Affleck and Brown brand is no longer around; the name lives on and so does the intended ethos of giving small businesses and independent traders somewhere to safely and affordably sell their products. Thus, meaning the place most definitely has an authentic and down to earth feeling as you wander from floor to floor.
As someone who is not too familiar with the Northern Quarter or even Manchester, my eyes lit up as I entered Affleck’s Palace for the first time. It’s a vintage clothing lover’s dream and a retro music fanatic’s heaven. The name palace really is fitting, the place really has everything you could want or need from a small, independent business. The smell of incense as you first enter the maze-like route, compliments the pleasant aesthetic of a candles, -bits and bobs-, jewellery filled alternative store called ‘Luna’, who claim to provide you with things that ‘make you look even more awesome than you already are!’.
Luna is one of the longest standing stores, having been in Affleck’s for nearly 20 years, possessing an eclectic and grungy feel that was certainly one of my favourite’s.
As you continue through the shops and up the floors, you will even come across a barber shop, which I think really showcases the varied nature of Affleck’s. The barbershop named ‘Palace Barbers’ claims ‘Gender Neutral pricing, LGBTQ+ friendly. All styles and cuts catered for from traditional to alternative.’ This ideology really encaptures the heart and soul of Affleck’s and even Manchester, showcasing that alternative and traditional styles are welcomed with open arms!
And if Manchester wasn’t praised enough for its music scene, donning some of my personal favourites as well as some of the most influential and pioneering bands the country has even seen, Afflecks Palace is one to add to the miserabilists books. With it’s very own vinyl store placed on the third and final floor of the building; although this store confirms my belief that last is definitely not least. The store has a range of different vinyl’s and all the music you could dream of, as the owner said the store reveals ‘15 years of obsessively collecting all genres of music that now form in racks within my shop.’
So if you happen to find yourself with a spare afternoon, and if it’s raining, as Manchester is so wonderfully known for, then take a visit to Affleck’s Palace and experience the wonderful world of this indoor, trader’s safe haven.
By Alice Stoner