The Manchester Central Convention Complex (also known as Manchester Central, formally known as the G-Mex Centre) is an exhibition and conference centre. The centre hosts many events and exhibitions, covering a wide range of interests and catering to a diverse audience.
The building itself is Grade II listed. It was originally used a train station (aptly name Central Station) between 1880 and 1969.
Greater Manchester Council acquired the building in 1978 and the station was converted into the Greater Manchester Exhibition and Events Centre (shortened to G-Mex) at a cost of around 20 million. It took 4 years to complete the renovations, with construction work beginning in 1982. The G-Mex was opened by Queen Elizabeth in 1986.
In January 2007, G-Mex was renamed Manchester Central (in reference to its original name) and the building was renovated again in 2008. The renovations included the creation of a new foyer, replacing some of the glass structure to expose more of the original architecture and the addition of new event spaces and meeting rooms.
The G-Mex was Manchester’s largest concert venue until the addition of the Manchester Arena in 1995.
Many well known artists performed at the G-Mex, including The Smiths and New Order in 1986, Frankie Goes to Hollywood in 1987 (pictured above), U2, Metallica and The Cure in 1992 and Oasis in 1997. This was to be the last gig at the venue for a number of years due to competition from the nearby Manchester Arena. Concerts resumed at the venue in 2006.
G-Mex was also used to host many high profile events, including the 2002 Commonwealth games and conferences for the Labour Party, The Conservative Party and The Liberal Democrats. The venue was also used by ITV to film the X Factor auditions in 2009 and 2010 as well as hosting the X Factor final in 2012.