Updated: Wednesday, 20th November 2019 @ 5:39am

City centre homage to A Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess

City centre homage to A Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess

by Emma Hughes

THE mind and matter of the man who wrote ultra-violent  social commentary A Clockwork Orange is moving from its cramped Withington quarters to a visitor-friendly city centre base.

The International Anthony Burgess Foundation is preparing to turn the page after buying up a spacious new converted mill near Manchester's hotel and theatre district.

Burgess, though best known for A Clockwork Orange, was a prolific writer, churning out 33 novels and composing over 250 pieces of music in his lifetime.

Currently, the IABF’s collection of his papers, manuscripts and belongings is kept in a modestly-sized terraced property in Tatton Grove, Withington.


However, the move to Chorlton Mill in Hulme Street will make it easier for fans and academics to access the foundation’s treasure trove of curios, which includes the writer's own piano, the postcards he was sent by comedian Benny Hill and even tins of his unsmoked cheroots.

The re-design of Chorlton Mill is being led by London architect Aoife Donnelly, who specialises in state-of-the-art exhibition spaces. 

When the project finishes in early 2010, the building will house the IABF’s library and archives, and a dedicated seminar room.

There will also be an exhibition space, a performance area for recitals of Burgess’s music and readings of his work, a bookshop and a café.

The IABF, whose honorary patrons include William Boyd, A. S. Byatt and Martin Scorsese, hopes that its new premises will help it to become more fully integrated into Manchester’s vibrant cultural scene.

“Anthony and his work are, in the best sense of the phrase, coming home,” said Nuria Belastegui, the foundation’s secretary and archivist.

Burgess was born in Harpurhey and spent the first 23 years of his life in Manchester, attending Victoria Park’s Xaverian College and graduating from what was then Victoria University of Manchester in 1940

Although he once described Manchester as a “terrible example of civic planning, or rather unplanning", Burgess wrote warmly about the mark the city had made on him in the first volume of his autobiography, Little Wilson and Big God.