Albert Square is a public square in the centre of Manchester, England. It is dominated by its largest building, the Grade I listedManchester Town Hall, a Victorian Gothic building by Alfred Waterhouse. Other smaller buildings from the same period surround it, many of which are listed (the buildings on the north side are in Princess Street).
The square contains a number of monuments and statues, the largest of which is the Albert Memorial, a monument to Prince Albert, Prince consort of Queen Victoria. The square, named after the Prince, was laid out to provide a space for the memorial in 1863–67. Work on the town hall began in 1868 and was completed in 1877.
The area in which the square is situated was once derelict land and an area of dense housing near the Town Yard and the River Tib (named Longworth's Folly).
The square's creation arose out of a project by Manchester Corporation's Monuments Committee to erect a memorial to Prince Albert who had died of typhoid in 1861. After initial proposals to create a memorial library, museum or botanical gardens, the committee decided to erect a statue in a decorated canopy. It was originally planned to place the monument in front of the Royal Infirmary building at Piccadilly, between the statues of Wellington and Peel. However it was felt that its ornate Gothic design was not in keeping with the neoclassical infirmary.In 1863, land was offered by the Corporation which was cleared to make way for a public space.
The project won much public support; the Manchester Bricklayers' Protection Society donated 50,000 bricks towards the monument's construction, "as an expression of sympathy towards our beloved Queen". When construction problems arose (the site was found to be riddled with drains and culverts) and the bricks were used up on the foundations alone, a public subscription was launched in 1865 and a further £6,249 was raised, in spite of the hardships of the Cotton Famine.
Clearing the site began in 1864, and required the demolition of over 100 buildings, including the Engraver's Arms pub, a coffee roasting works, a smithy, a coal yard and various warehouses. The project was encouraged by the visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales to open the Albert Monument in 1869.
It was decided to construct a new town hall for Manchester, as the old building in King Street had become too small. Following an architectural competition, Gothic designs for a building with a high bell tower by Sir Alfred Waterhouse were selected, and the Town Hall was begun in 1868 and completed in 1877.
In the early 1970s, there was a plan to build an underground station under Albert Square and neighbouring St Peter's Square, as part of the ill-fated Picc-Vic tunnel project.The project was eventually cancelled and the station was not built.
In April 1972, the area around Albert Square was designated a conservation area, and in 1981 to include the neighbouring, newly created Lincoln Square. (The creation of Lincoln Square completed a "procesional way" from the Law Courts through Spinningfields and Lincoln Square to the Town Hall.)
The centre of Albert Square was originally laid out in the form of a traffic circle and a group of bus stops occupied the western part. In 1987 the square was redesigned and the eastern side in front of the town hall was pedestrianised. The square was laid with fan-shaped granite setts, York stone paving and 'heritage'-style cast-iron street furniture.
Albert Square's largest monument is the Grade I listedAlbert Memorial, commemorating the Prince Consort. It features a marble statue of Albert standing on a plinth and facing west, designed by Matthew Noble (1862–1867). The figure is placed within a large Medieval-style ciborium which was designed by the architect Thomas Worthington. Noble was commissioned by the then mayor, Thomas Goadsby, to sculpt the Prince's likeness, and the designs were personally approved by Queen Victoria.
Worthington himself had, at the age of 18, been presented with the Royal Society of Arts' Isis Gold Medal by Prince Albert for a design for a Gothic-style chancel. His Medieval-style design for the Albert Memorial was inspired by the Church of Santa Maria della Spina in Pisa. Although his design was unusual for its time, commentators have suggested he may have been influenced by George Kemp's Scott Monument in Princes Street, Edinburgh, built 20 years earlier.
The memorial is topped with an ornate spire, and on each side a crocketed gable with canopied pinnacles on colonettes. Within the canopies stand symbolic figures representing art, commerce, science and agriculture. Below these stand secondary figures representing particular disciplines:
The coloured sett paving which was laid around the memorial in 1987 depicts floral representations of the Four Home Nations of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Proposals to move or demolish the Albert Memorial have been made; a plan to replace Prince Albert with a war memorial following the First World War was defeated; and when the Albert Memorial had fallen into disrepair, it was proposed that it should be demolished. It was rescued from destruction several times by campaigners, and was finally restored with help from Robert Ernest Shapley in 1976–77.The Albert Memorial Restoration Committee, chaired by J. L. Womersley, raised £50, 000 to repair the memorial through public appeal, a fact that is noted in an inscription at its base.
Manchester's Albert Memorial, completed in 1865, was the first of several Albert Memorials around the United Kingdom, and it bears a noticeable similarity to the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens, London, which was completed some seven years after the Mancunian monument. Claims that Worthington's design influenced George Gilbert Scott in his London monument are disputed. Scott, writing in his Recollections, stated that his idea of building a medieval canopy was original, "so new as to provoke much opposition".
Within the square are several other monuments:
Neighbouring Lincoln Square, created in 1981, features:
Albert Square is bounded by a varied selection of listed Victorian buildings, the largest being the town hall. Only the western side of the square (facing the town hall) has lost its original buildings and is now occupied by brick and glass office blocks erected during the 1980s. Buildings in Albert Square include:
The Albert Memorial, directly north of the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington Gardens, London, was commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her beloved husband Prince Albert, who died in 1861. Designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the Gothic Revival style, it takes the form of an ornate canopy or pavilion 176 feet (54 m) tall, in the style of a Gothic ciborium over the high altar of a church, sheltering a statue of the prince facing south. It took over ten years to complete, the £120,000 cost met by public subscription.
The Hall of Memory in Centenary Square, Birmingham, England, designed by S. N. Cooke and W. N. Twist, is a war memorial erected 1922–25, by John Barnsley and Son, to commemorate the 12,320 Birmingham citizens who died in World War I.
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. The building faces Albert Square to the north and St Peter's Square to the south, with Manchester Cenotaph facing its southern entrance.
Ullet Road Church is a Unitarian church at 57 Ullet Road, Sefton Park, Liverpool. Both the church and its attached hall are separately recorded in the National Heritage List for England as designated Grade I listed buildings. It was the first place of worship in the United Kingdom to register a civil partnership for a same-sex couple. It is a member of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, the umbrella organisation for British Unitarians.
Thomas Worthington was a 19th-century English architect, particularly associated with public buildings in and around Manchester. Worthington's preferred style was the Gothic Revival.
Piccadilly Gardens is a green space in Manchester city centre, England, between Market Street and the edge of the Northern Quarter. Piccadilly runs eastwards from the junction of Market Street with Mosley Street to the junction of London Road with Ducie Street; to the south are the gardens and paved areas. The area was reconfigured in 2002 with a water feature and concrete pavilion by Japanese architect Tadao Ando.
The architecture of Manchester demonstrates a rich variety of architectural styles. The city is a product of the Industrial Revolution and is known as the first modern, industrial city. Manchester is noted for its warehouses, railway viaducts, cotton mills and canals - remnants of its past when the city produced and traded goods. Manchester has minimal Georgian or medieval architecture to speak of and consequently has a vast array of 19th and early 20th-century architecture styles; examples include Palazzo, Neo-Gothic, Venetian Gothic, Edwardian baroque, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and the Neo-Classical.
Watts Warehouse is a large, ornate Victorian Grade II* listed building standing on Portland Street in the centre of Manchester, England. It opened in 1856 as a textile warehouse for the wholesale drapery business of S & J Watts, and was the largest single-occupancy textile warehouse in Manchester. Today the building is part of the Britannia Hotels chain.
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Memorial Hall in Albert Square, Manchester, England, was constructed in 1863–1866 by Thomas Worthington. It was built to commemorate the bicentennial anniversary of the 1662 Act of Uniformity, when the secession of some 2,000 Anglican clergy led to the birth of Nonconformism It is a Grade II* listed building as of 14 February 1972.
Manchester Cenotaph is a war memorial in St Peter's Square, Manchester, England. Manchester was late in commissioning a First World War memorial compared with most British towns and cities; the city council did not convene a war memorial committee until 1922. The committee quickly achieved its target of raising £10,000 but finding a suitable location for the monument proved controversial. The preferred site in Albert Square would have required the removal and relocation of other statues and monuments, and was opposed by the city's artistic bodies. The next choice was Piccadilly Gardens, an area already identified for a possible art gallery and library; but in the interests of speedier delivery, the memorial committee settled on St Peter's Square. The area within the square had been had been purchased by the City Council in 1906, having been the site of the former St Peter's Church; whose sealed burial crypts remained with burials untouched and marked above ground by a memorial stone cross. Negotiations to remove these stalled so the construction of the cenotaph proceeded with the cross and burials in situ.
The Peacock Mausoleum is a Victorian Gothic memorial to Richard Peacock (1820–1889), engineer and Liberal MP for Manchester, and to his son, Joseph Peacock. It is situated in the cemetery of Brookfield Unitarian Church, Gorton, Manchester. The mausoleum was designed by the prolific Manchester architect Thomas Worthington. It was listed Grade II* on the National Heritage List for England on 3 October 1974.
St Peter's Church is an Anglican church in the town of Burnley, Lancashire, England. It is an active parish church in the Diocese of Blackburn and the archdeaconry of Blackburn. The oldest part of the church, the lower tower, dates from the 15th century, and there are several later additions and restorations. St Peter's is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building.
Manchester Town Hall Extension was built between 1934 and 1938 to provide additional accommodation for local government services. It was built between St Peter's Square and Lloyd Street in Manchester city centre, England. English Heritage designated it a grade II* listed building on 3 October 1974. Its eclectic style was designed to be a link between the ornate Gothic Revival Manchester Town Hall and the Classical architecture of the Central Library.
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The Queen Victoria Monument stands in the centre of Hamilton Square, Birkenhead, Wirral, Merseyside, England. It is in the form of an Eleanor cross. The memorial was designed by Edmund Kirby, and was unveiled in 1905. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building.
The Monument to Captain John Francis Egerton stands in the grounds of the Oulton Estate, Little Budworth, Cheshire, England. John Francis Egerton died in 1846 as the result of injuries sustained in the First Anglo-Sikh War. The memorial was designed by Scott and Moffatt, and is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building.
The Statue of Queen Victoria stands on the western side of Victoria Square, St Helens, Merseyside, England. It was created after the death of Queen Victoria and given to the town by Colonel William Windle Pilkington, mayor of St Helens in 1902, and a member of the Pilkington glass manufacturers in the town. Pilkington commissioned George Frampton to design it. Frampton used the same model for the figure of the queen for two other statues, but placed it on thrones and pedestals of different designs. The St Helens statue was unveiled by the Earl of Derby in 1905. Originally placed in the centre of Victoria Square, it was moved to a position on the west side of the square in 2000. The statue is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building.
The Burdett Coutts Memorial Sundial is a structure built in Old St Pancras churchyard in 1877–79, at the behest of Baroness Burdett-Coutts. The former churchyard included the burial ground for St Giles-in-the-Fields, where many Catholics and French émigrés were buried. The graveyard closed to burials in 1850, but some graves were disturbed by a cutting of the Midland Railway in 1865 as part of the works to construct its terminus at St Pancras railway station. The churchyard was acquired by the parish authorities in 1875 and reopened as a public park in June 1877. The high Victorian Gothic memorial was built from 1877 and unveiled in 1879. The obelisk acts as a memorial to people buried near the church whose graves were disturbed; the names of over 70 of them are listed on the memorial, including the Chevalier d'Éon, Sir John Soane, John Flaxman, Sir John Gurney, and James Leoni.
Manchester is a city in Northwest England. The M2 postcode area of the city includes part of the city centre, including the Central Retail District. The postcode area contains 143 listed buildings that are recorded in the National Heritage List for England. Of these, five are listed at Grade I, the highest of the three grades, 16 are at Grade II*, the middle grade, and the others are at Grade II, the lowest grade.
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