Our History & Heritage

Take a trip down memory lane.

Our Eventful History

With a long and interesting past, Manchester – and the EventCity site – was home to very special moments in history long before our doors opened. 

Now you can explore our rich heritage, and see why we’re so proud to call Manchester home.


When the Manchester Ship Canal opened in 1894, the site of EventCity had been part of the estate of the de Trafford family who lived at Trafford Park. In 1896 the Park was sold to be developed as the world’s first industrial park.


The Manchester Ship Canal Company acquired the land to the south of Trafford Park with the intention of developing a new dock. The land became known as the Barton Dock Estate, but the dock itself was never built. 


Following the outbreak of the Second World War land on the Barton Dock Estate was transferred to the Ministry of Aircraft Production. In May 1941 the Ford Shadow Factory opened on the site to manufacture Merlin engines for the Lancaster Bomber and Spitfire. The factory was bombed in the same month it opened.


With the war now over, production of the Merlin engines ceased and the Ford factory closed. The site was taken over by the Platt Brothers of Oldham to manufacture textile machinery. 


In later years the Ford factory site was occupied by different companies including Massey Ferguson Manufacturing Co. Ltd - manufacturers of tractors, implements and diggers – and used to store parts.


John Whittaker, a Lancashire businessman became Chairman of Peel Mills (Holdings) Ltd, a textile company founded in the 1880s in Bury.  In less than 20 years he would transform Peel into a successful property company.


The site that would eventually become EventCity was transferred to the Trafford Park Urban Development Corporation as part of a wider regeneration of the area. Massey Ferguson’s spare parts operation closed and the former Ford factory was demolished.


The Manchester Ship Canal Company was acquired by Peel which had established itself as a pioneer of the edge-of-town retail superstore with a growing land portfolio. Peel has since expanded into airports, energy and logistics.


Whilst under the ownership of the Trafford Park Urban Development Corporation the EventCity site was purchased by Manchester Tobacco Company Ltd., and a 28,000 sq.m. warehouse was built.


The Peel Group acquired the site from the Manchester Tobacco Company Ltd, and the premises were occupied by Argos for use as a warehouse to serve its nearby superstore.


On expiration of the lease the property reopened as the Museum of Museums, showcasing exhibits from around the country. This heritage and ‘entertainment’ venue marked what is now EventCity’s first venture into the events and entertainment industry.


EventCity is the number one venue in the North and thanks to investment, time and expertise of The Peel Group, we are developing and changing the landscape of TRAFFORDCITY. You need to see it to believe it!