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Manchester Town Hall

 

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  • A design competition for this building had 136 entries, the chosen design won as it was the most practical for the triangular site, albeit with picturesque Gothic flourishes more reminiscent of Pugin.
  • One of the issues with the site was that it was so small, and the council requirements were so large. Waterhouse got around this by building a series of rooms ringing the exterior of the site in a rough triangular plan, and then set the council hall in the centre of the site.
  • The clock tower of the town hall was the tallest structure in Manchester from 1877-1962. It is set asymmetrically along Albert Square, with the ground level used to provide direct access to the great hall in the middle of the building.
  • The great hall has a hammerbeam roof evoking memories of Westminster Hall. Going on further however, Victorian artist Ford Madox Brown, decorated it with a number of colourful frescoes creating a more ostentatious interior than the medieval inspiration.
  • Waterhouse placed small and large staircases together in his design creating an early equivalent of a service shaft by clustering various services in key locations.
  • The building was paid for by some of the profits that the municipal gas system of the city earned.

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Architect
Alfred Waterhouse
Developer
The City of Manchester

Reference Data

Reference No.
182
First Uploaded
19-02-2006
Last Editorial Date
03-09-2012
 

Building Location

Address
Albert Square, Manchester. M60 3NY
Council
Manchester City Council
County
Greater Manchester
Region
North West
Country
United Kingdom

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Building Specification

Status
Complete
Proposal date
1867
Construction start date
1868
Completion date
1877
Heritage Status
Grade I
Style
Gothic Revival

Roof Height (AGL)
87.20

Manchester Town Hall

Total Floors (O.G)
6

Market Data

Primary Use
Government
Secondary Use
Clock Tower


Construction Cost
£775,000.00
Budget Date
1877

Metres > Feet