Manchester Town Hall
Manchester Town Hall
Manchester Town Hall is a Victorian, Neo-gothic municipal building in Manchester, England. It is the ceremonial headquarters of Manchester City Council and houses a number of local government departments.
Designed by architect Alfred Waterhouse the town hall was completed in 1877. The building occupies a triangular site facing Albert Square and contains offices and grand ceremonial rooms such as the Great Hall which is decorated with the imposing Manchester Murals by Ford Madox Brown illustrating the history of the city. The entrance and Sculpture Hall contain busts and statues of influential figures including Dalton, Jouleand Barbirolli. The exterior is dominated by the clock tower which rises to 87 metres (285 feet) and housesGreat Abel, the clock bell.
In 1938, a detached Town Hall Extension was completed and is connected by two covered bridges over Lloyd Street. The town hall, which was granted Grade I listed building status on 25 February 1952, is regarded as one of the finest interpretations of Gothic revival architecture in the world.
The old town hall:
It was replaced by the first Town Hall, to accommodate the growing local government and its civic assembly rooms. The Town Hall, also located in King Street at the corner of Cross Street, was designed by and constructed during 1822–25, much of it by . The building was designed with a screen of columns across a recessed centre, in a classicising manner strongly influenced by . The building was 134 feet long and 76 feet deep, the ground floor housed committee rooms and offices for the Chief Constable, Surveyor, Treasurer, other officers and clerks. The first floor held the Assembly Rooms. The building and land cost £39,587.
, its administration outstripped the existing facilities, and a new building was proposed. The King Street building was subsequently occupied by a lending library and then Lloyds Bank. The facade was removed to in 1912, when a bank, was erected on the site.
The new town Hall:
An oddly shaped plot facing was chosen. The Albert Square frontage measures 323 feet (98 m), Lloyd Street is 350 feet (107 m), Princess Street the longest at 383 feet (117 m) and Cooper Street measures 94 feet (29 m). On this tight site, the corporation built a grand hall, a suite of reception rooms, quarters for the Lord Mayor, offices and a council chamber.
, a classicist, and gothicist . The eight finalists were Waterhouse, William Lee, Speakman & Charlesworth, and. In terms of design and aesthetics, Waterhouse's proposal was placed fourth behind those of Speakman & Charlesworth, Oldrid Scott and Worthington but his design was considered much superior for its architectural quality, layout and use of light and he was appointed architect on 1 April 1868.
, Robert Neill. Construction took nine years and used 14 million bricks. Estimates for the cost of construction vary from £775,000
. Gothic features most prominent in the Manchester Town Hall are low ceilings and tall arched windows. The choice of the Gothic was influenced by the wish for a spiritual acknowledgement of Manchester's late medieval heritage in the textile trade of the and an affirmation of modernity in the fashionable neo-Gothic |||
quarried near in Yorkshire, is decorated with sculptures of important figures in Manchester's history. The interior is faced with multi-coloured by . Its painted ceilings are by Best & Lea of Manchester, who had provided the ceilings in Waterhouse's.
Extra windows and, "borrowed lights" for interior spaces and glazed white bricks in conjunction with marble paving in areas where the light was "less strong". Clear glass was used in important rooms, with light-coloured tints for coloured glazing, as "the sky of Manchester does not favour the employment of deeply stained glass."
, and a warm-air heating system, which provided fresh air drawn through ornamental stone air inlets placed below the windows and admitted behind the hot water pipes and 'coils' of rooms. Warmed, fresh air was fed into the stairwells and through hollow shafts within the spiral staircases to ventilate the corridors. The pipes that supplied gas for lighting were ingeniously concealed underneath the banister rails of the spiral staircases. Waterhouse designed the building structure to be fireproof, using a combination of concrete and wrought-iron beams.
Albert Square is a public in the centre of , England. It is dominated by its largest building, , a building by . Other smaller buildings from the same period surround the square, many of which are (the buildings on the north side are officially in ).
, of . The square, named after the Prince, was laid out to provide a space for this memorial in 1863–67. Work on the town hall began in 1868 and was completed in 1877.
Exterior of the building:
were blackened by . By the 1870s the local soft red was deemed to be unsuitable for public buildings, and tough were preferred. The architectural competition entries were judged in part on their suitability for the "climate of the district", and sample stone types were investigated. Waterhouse believed it was a matter of great difficulty to find a stone "proof against the evil influences of the peculiar climate of Manchester" but decided that Yorkshire-quarried Spinkwell stone would resist "the deleterious influences of Manchester atmosphere". The interior decoration was chosen with a view to providing permanent colour and cleanable surfaces. Public corridors were faced with rather than plaster, and extensive use was made of stone , tiled and washable mosaic floors.
heaviness and colour used in contemporary buildings, and was criticised by some Manchester inhabitants for not being Gothic enough. The decision to spend large amounts of money on a building "when most of its architectural effect would be lost because ruined by soot and made nearly invisible by smoke" was criticised. Waterhouse avoided using a scheme as seen in High Victorian Gothic buildings such as believing it to be impractical as Manchester's industrial atmosphere would quickly ruin the effect and decided a uniform stone exterior was the better solution. Statues of notable figures in the city's history decorate its exterior, that of , founder of the Roman fort is over the main door and over its gable is a statue of . Statues of Thomas Grelley, first , and are among six at the corner of Albert Square and Princess Street. Waterhouse's design proved successful and although its exterior was blackened by the late 1890s, the stonework was in a suitable condition to be cleaned and restored to its original appearance in the late 1960s.
of 23 : 12 are hung for full circle and were manufactured by . The clock bell, Great Abel, named after Abel Heywood weighs 8 tons 2.5 cwt. The clock was made by Gillett and Bland (predecessor of ) and was originally wound using hydraulic power supplied by .The clock bell first rang on New Year's Day 1879 but cracked, and was replaced in 1882 and recast with all the bells in 1937. The clock face bears the inscription Teach us to number our Days, from. The clock bell is inscribed with the initials AH for and the line Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Of corridors linking offices and everyday workings. The grandiose, ceremonial features of the town hall are centrally located. By the main entrance on Albert Square are two grand staircases leading to the landing outside the Great Hall. The stairs have low allowing access for women in Victorian. The walls of the staircases have tall, arched windows admitting daylight. Three accessing the first floor from entrances on Princess Street, Lloyd Street and Cooper Street are constructed in English, Scottish and Irish .
of people who made significant contributions to Manchester, the Anti Corn Law campaigners, and , and scientists and among many others.
The Great Hall:
Floor with a pattern of bees and cotton flowers. Influential Victorian critic, , described the Great Hall as "The most truly magnificent Gothic apartment in Europe."
, its ceiling divided into panels bearing the arms of countries and towns with which Manchester traded at the zenith of its mercantile power. by , a sequence of 12 paintings depicting the history of Manchester decorate its walls. They are not true but use the . An by stands 16 feet (5 m) tall and has more than 5,000 pipes. It was designed so that the organist can face the audience.
was won by , the architect who also won a competition to design . Work began on the extension in 1934 and was completed by 1938. , a contemporary architecture critic, thought the extension was 'dull' and 'drab' while considered it was Harris's best work. It is linked to the town hall by glazed pedestrian bridges at first-floor level.
Manchester town hall used in film and TV:
As the town hall resembles the Palace of Westminster, it has been used as a location for television and films. The BBC series, State of Play, was filmed here and at Granada Studios. In 2008, it was used in the filming of Sherlock Holmes, and in 2011 was a location for The Iron Lady.