A potted history of Commonplace

With such big changes afoot with the planned conversion of the bus in 2018, we thought it would be nice to look back on the (sometimes bumpy) road that got us to where we are today. Introducing a potted history of Commonplace... 

2014: Lucy & Roxanna met working in hospitality. Lucy was finishing a masters degree at the University of Manchester, and Roxanna was on a career break exploring opening her own community cafe. Conversations started about the use of venues and community spaces in Manchester. 

Early 2015: Conversations escalated fast into full blown business plans for opening their own multi-purpose venue in Manchester city centre! Funding was secured from UnLtd & O2 Think Big to complete a number of community consultations.

The first consultation event held at Spaceport X.

The first consultation event held at Spaceport X.

Spring 2015: Negotiations were getting serious on a large site in central Manchester that required a lot of structural work. 

End of Summer 2015: By August both leases on the central site in Manchester and another site in Ancoats had fallen through. Ideas became more focussed and the community cafe aspect was scrapped. 

Winter 2015: With a permanent site on hold Lucy and Rox began to explore pop-up sites, including shipping containers.

Site visit to Pop Brixton in London to get a feel for shipping containers. 

Site visit to Pop Brixton in London to get a feel for shipping containers. 

Spring 2016: The shipping container idea had been thrown around for nearly 6 months but no body could find a suitable location to 'park' them.  Back to the drawing board - and it was an idea shared at the very first consultation event held in 2015 that jumped out ... a bus! 

Autumns 2016: After 6 months of asking bus companies for a donated double decker, Rox received an email from Stagecoach Manchester to say they had a bus for us and it was ready to take the next week. The bus went the following week to Blackpool Design Coachbuilders to be stored over winter, whilst enough money was scrambled together to create some branding and paint the bus. 

Roxanna visiting our new set of wheels at Stagecoach!  

Roxanna visiting our new set of wheels at Stagecoach!  

April 2017: The big coral beauty returned to Manchester to be stored in Stockport. A month later she began her new life as an event's vehicle with the launch of the Summer Hoopla  - a Big Lottery and We Love MCR funded pilot series of events, popping up across Manchester for summer clubs, talks, creative workshops and consultations. 

Today: The pilot series is complete and the bus is now being hired to local organisations for their events. Lucy and Rox are now planning the next stage of the journey ... a full interior conversion of the bus to be completed in 2018! 

Out at the beginning of December for an event outside Plant NOMA. 

Out at the beginning of December for an event outside Plant NOMA. 

Lucy Cooke