Hackspace Manchester started life as Stockport Hackspace after an email was sent out to gauge the interest in starting a hackerspace group within the Stockport area.

The first meeting was held in the Grey Horse pub on 25th June 2009 and Stockport Hackspace was formed. The Group was planning to rent a space in nearby Broadstone Mill. After some encouraging initial meetings with the architect at Broadstone, the Property Managers got involved, and the price skyrocketed out of the group’s reach.

The group then spent several months meeting in pubs around Stockport, looking for alternative affordable spaces, and discussing everything from Ardunios to which OS is the best (Linux being the consensus).

In late 2009, the group were contacted by a member of MCC Hub, asking if they wanted to use a room in MCC’s new HQ, Factory 2010, a building just inside the Mancunian Way. They decided to pursue this idea, and voted to move future meetings into Manchester City Centre, and rebrand.

Edge Street, Above the Cane & Grain

The group’s name changed to Hacking & Artistic Community, Manchester (or HACMan) in late December/early January 2010, and the meetings moved nearer to the centre of Manchester, namely to The Bull’s Head Pub. Unfortunately, in February 2010 MCC were forced to cancel the Factory 2010 project, leaving HACMan again without a space. However, the move into Manchester had opened up the door for more collaboration between HACMan and other groups in Manchester, and as of late February 2010 the group had started working closely with MadLab in the Northern Quarter. By July 2010, HACMan were meeting every Wednesday and on the third Saturday monthly at Madlab.

In June 2012, due to time and space constraints, HACMan decided it was time to move on from Madlab.  Another space was found just down the road at #44 Edge Street, occupancy began in August 2012.

In April 2016 HACMan needed to move again and chose Wellington Mill on the outskirts of Ancoats to be its next home. The group took on a small studio space upstairs above Mantra nightclub. Late weekend making would be soundtracked by the frequent raves downstairs. At the time of the move Ancoats wasn’t anything special, and the idea of gentrification sweeping across East Manchester would have been a joke. In April 2019 with the lease expiring and Mantra nightclub having closed its doors, HACMan moved downstairs into the old nightclub, a space much larger than anything it had been in before. Reminants of the nightclub can still be seen around the space.

Hackspace Manchester is run under the regular hackspace model, with rent and bills paid by membership fees, and the members voting to elect a board of trustees, who make sure the bills are paid and the space continues to function.