Jim Ramsbottom
Jim Ramsbottom At Dukes 92 c. Len Grant

Industry mourns death of Castlefield stalwart Ramsbottom

Sarah Townsend

Jim Ramsbottom, the regeneration expert who transformed the canal-strewn pocket of Manchester into the mixed-use district it is today, has died at the age of 81.

Ramsbottom’s development company Castlefield Estates rose to prominence in the 1990s as it introduced urban renewal to the historic industrial heartland of Castlefield Basin, close to Deansgate Locks on the edge of the city centre.

The company is now run by his daughter-in-law Sarah Ramsbottom and his son James owns the Manchester-based restaurant, bar and leisure company Elle R Leisure, which counts Dukes 92 in Castlefield in its portfolio.

Jim’s daughter Sarah McDermott is a past director of Castlefield Estates and now heads up real estate investor Isterco Associates, among other companies.

Born in Salford in 1939, Jim Ramsbottom started to invest in the Castlefield conservation area in 1982 with the first construction works taking place from 1990 and the first building to be completed being the Eastgate offices on Castle Street.

James Ramsbottom said: “The whole family is extremely sad at the loss of Jim. He was first and foremost a family man who will be much missed.

“He was passionate about urban regeneration and the preservation of Manchester’s industrial heritage. Hopefully the work he did in Castlefield provides a legacy to this vision.”

Tributes for Ramsbottom poured in on social media over the weekend, with the region’s property industry lamenting the passing of “the architect of Castlefield’s renewal”.

Local property and architecture writer Philip Griffin tweeted: “A great Salfordian has passed, and all of Manchester is poorer. Jim Ramsbottom died last night.

“The bookmaker who backed Castlefield and kickstarted urban renewal made the greatest individual contribution. One hand in waistband, one on fag, mane of silver hair atop quick mind. Gone.”

Matt Pickering, associate principal of architecture studio CallisonRTKL, wrote: “I never met the man but Manchester wouldn’t be the place it is now without him. Thanks from all the hospitality industry, party people, architects, designers etc who you forged a future for.”

And Deloitte Manchester planning partner Simon Bedford tweeted: “The architect of Castlefield’s renewal – a true visionary and he was kind enough to lend me Dukes 92 to celebrate my 30th birthday. RIP.”

View over Castlefield Locks towards the city centre

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What great work he did. Thoughts with all the family and I hope they continue to keep up his legacy.

By .

So sad to read about Jim. He was a lovely man who was deeply passionate about the Castlefield area. I moved into the area when it was utterly derelict and his deep interest in everything associated with “his patch” shone through. We (and all Mancunians) have a lot to be grateful for to Jim

By Old Hack

RIP Jim always thought of you as unique sharp and warm, a great
Sense of humour and unique.
Don devon

By Don

Jim was a brilliant guy, spent a lot of time with him back in the 1990s when Castlefield was coming up thanks to him…his office was in his bookies on Deansgate and he said he only fell in love with Castlefield as whenever he lost big to a lucky punter, he would want to be alone with his thoughts and go wandering around what was then a derelict wasteland – fag in mouth, no doubt :)

By Andrew Spinoza

It was Jim’s love of Castlefield and his vision for the area that led to the regeneration of the area. He took a business risk and it paid off. This was the impetus for many of the developments in the city centre.
RIP Jim, you were unique.

By Chrissie Gibson

Great Salford lad , Jim was . Funny , shrewd , kind ,he saw great possibilities where others could see nothing .
Despite his enormous successes , he never forgot his humble roots .

By Fred