Albert Square, Manchester

Last updated

Albert Square, overlooked by Manchester Town Hall Manchester town hall.jpg
Albert Square, overlooked by Manchester Town Hall

Albert Square is a public square in the centre of Manchester, England. It is dominated by its largest building, the Grade I listed [1] Manchester 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).

Town square open public space

A town square is an open public space commonly found in the heart of a traditional town used for community gatherings. Other names for town square are civic center, city square, urban square, market square, public square, piazza, plaza, and town green.

Manchester City and metropolitan borough in England

Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 545,500 as of 2017. It lies within the United Kingdom's second-most populous built-up area, with a population of 3.2 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority is Manchester City Council.

Manchester Town Hall municipal building in Manchester, England

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.

Contents

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.

Albert, Prince Consort Husband of Queen Victoria

Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was the husband of Queen Victoria.

A prince consort is the husband of a queen regnant who is not himself a king in his own right. In recognition of his status, a prince consort may be given a formal title, such as prince or prince consort, with prince being the most common. However, most monarchies do not have formal rules on the styling of princes consort, thus they may have no special title. Few monarchies use the title of king consort for the same role.

Queen Victoria British monarch who reigned 1837–1901

Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. On 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India.

History

Albert Square, as depicted in a 1910 oil painting by Adolphe Valette. The Albert Memorial (left) and Gladstone statue (right) can be seen in the foreground. Albert Square Manchester 1910, Valette.jpg
Albert Square, as depicted in a 1910 oil painting by Adolphe Valette. The Albert Memorial (left) and Gladstone statue (right) can be seen in the foreground.
Albert Memorial (Thomas Worthington & Matthew Noble, 1869) Albert-Square-MainStatue.jpg
Albert Memorial (Thomas Worthington & Matthew Noble, 1869)

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). [2]

River Tib underground river flowing through Greater Manchester

The River Tib is a minor tributary of the River Medlock in Manchester, England. It has been culverted along its entire length since probably about 1820 and now runs beneath Manchester city centre. Tib Street and Tib Lane are named after the watercourse.

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. [3] In 1863, land was offered by the Corporation which was cleared to make way for a public space. [4]

Manchester Royal Infirmary Hospital in United Kingdom, England

Manchester Royal Infirmary is a hospital in Manchester, England, founded by Charles White in 1752. It is now part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, sharing buildings and facilities with several other hospitals.

Piccadilly Gardens

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 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. [4]

Lancashire Cotton Famine

The Lancashire Cotton Famine, also known as the Cotton Famine or the Cotton Panic (1861–65), was a depression in the textile industry of North West England, brought about by overproduction in a time of contracting world markets. It coincided with the interruption of baled cotton imports caused by the American Civil War, and speculators buying up new stock, for storage in the shipping warehouses at the ports of entry.

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. [4]

Roasting coffee transforms the chemical and physical properties of green coffee beans into roasted coffee products. The roasting process is what produces the characteristic flavor of coffee by causing the green coffee beans to change in taste. Unroasted beans contain similar if not higher levels of acids, protein, sugars, and caffeine as those that have been roasted, but lack the taste of roasted coffee beans due to the Maillard and other chemical reactions that occur during roasting.

Forge workplace of a blacksmith

A forge is a type of hearth used for heating metals, or the workplace (smithy) where such a hearth is located. The forge is used by the smith to heat a piece of metal to a temperature where it becomes easier to shape by forging, or to the point where work hardening no longer occurs. The metal is transported to and from the forge using tongs, which are also used to hold the workpiece on the smithy's anvil while the smith works it with a hammer. Sometimes, such as when hardening steel or cooling the work so that it may be handled with bare hands, the workpiece is transported to the slack tub, which rapidly cools the workpiece in a large body of water. However, depending on the metal type, it may require an oil quench or a salt brine instead; many metals require more than plain water hardening. The slack tub also provides water to control the fire in the forge.

Alexandra of Denmark queen-empress consort as wife of Edward VII

Alexandra of Denmark was Queen of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Empress of India as the wife of King Edward VII.

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. [4]

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. [5] 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. [2]

Monuments

Albert Memorial

Close-up of the Albert Memorial Albert Memorial Manchester 1867.JPG
Close-up of the Albert Memorial

Albert Square's largest monument is the Grade I listed [6] Albert 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. [4]

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. [4]

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. [7] 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. [8]


London Albert Memorial

Albert Memorial, London (George Gilbert Scott, 1872) Albert memorial and royal albert hall.jpg
Albert Memorial, London (George Gilbert Scott, 1872)
The fountain in Albert Square, erected for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria Albert-Square-Manchester-Fountain.jpg
The fountain in Albert Square, erected for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria

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". [4]

Other monuments

Within the square are several other monuments:

Lincoln Square

Neighbouring Lincoln Square, created in 1981, features:

Notable buildings

Albert Memorial in front of the town hall Manchester Town Hall and Memorial.jpg
Albert Memorial in front of the town hall

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:

Related Research Articles

Albert Memorial memorial to Prince Albert in Kensington Gardens, London

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.

Hall of Memory, Birmingham War memorial building

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.

Ullet Road Unitarian Church Church in Merseyside, England

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 (architect) English architect

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.

Chamberlain Memorial A memorial in Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, England

The Chamberlain Memorial, also known as the Chamberlain Memorial Fountain, is a monument in Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, England, erected in 1880 to commemorate the public service of Joseph Chamberlain (1836–1914), Birmingham businessman, councillor, mayor, Member of Parliament, and statesman. An inauguration ceremony was held on 20 October 1880, when Chamberlain himself was present.

Architecture of Manchester

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

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.

Memorial Hall, Manchester

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.

City Police Courts, Manchester

The City Police Courts, now commonly called Minshull Street Crown Court, is a complex of court buildings on Minshull Street in Manchester, designed in 1867–73 by the architect Thomas Worthington. The court was designated a Grade II* listed building on 3 October 1974.

Manchester Cenotaph

Manchester Cenotaph is a First World War memorial, with additions for later conflicts, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens for St Peter's Square in Manchester, England. Manchester was late in commissioning a war memorial compared to most British towns and cities—the city council did not convene a war memorial committee until 1922. The committee quickly raised £10,000 but finding a suitable location for the monument proved controversial. The preferred site in Albert Square required the removal and relocation of several statues, and was opposed by the city's artistic community. The next choice was Piccadilly Gardens, an area ripe for development, but in the interests of expediency, the council chose St Peter's Square, although it already contained a stone cross commemorating the former St Peter's Church. Negotiations to move the cross were unsuccessful and the cenotaph was built with the cross in situ.

Peacock Mausoleum

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 made a Grade II* listed structure on 3 October 1974.

Manchester Town Hall Extension

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.

Bolton Town Hall

Bolton Town Hall facing Victoria Square in Bolton, Greater Manchester, England, was built between 1866 and 1873 for the County Borough of Bolton to designs by William Hill of Leeds and George Woodhouse of Bolton. The town hall was extended in the 1930s to the designs of Bradshaw, Gass and Hope and has been designated a Grade II* listed building by English Heritage.

Grade I listed buildings in Greater Manchester Wikimedia list article

There are 48 Grade I listed buildings in Greater Manchester, England. In the United Kingdom, the term listed building refers to a building or other structure officially designated as being of special architectural, historical or cultural significance; Grade I structures are those considered to be "buildings of exceptional interest". In England, the authority for listing under the Planning Act 1990 rests with Historic England, a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Queen Victoria Monument, Birkenhead

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.

Statue of Queen Victoria, St Helens statue in St Helens, England

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.

Lifeboat Memorial, Lytham

The Lifeboat Memorial, Lytham, is in the churchyard of St Cuthbert's Church, Lytham St Annes, Fylde, Lancashire, England. It commemorates the death of 27 lifeboatmen from Southport and St Annes who were lost in the attempt to rescue the crew of the German barque Mexico that had been driven into a sandbank in a gale in 1886. The memorial is in the form of a Gothic-style tabernacle with a crocketed pinnacle. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building.

Queen Victoria Memorial, Lancaster memorial in Lancaster, England

The Queen Victoria Memorial in Lancaster, Lancashire, England, is a Grade II* listed building. It stands in the centre of Dalton Square, Lancaster facing Lancaster Town Hall. It was erected in 1906, being commissioned and paid for by James Williamson, 1st Baron Ashton.

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.

References

  1. 1 2 Historic England. "Manchester Town Hall (387871)". Images of England . Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  2. 1 2 "Albert Square Conservation Area". Manchester City Council. Retrieved 21 March 2009.
  3. Stewart, Cecil (1956) The Stones of Manchester. London: Edward Arnold; pp. 81–84
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Parkinson-Bailey, John J. (2000). "6: Confidence and Civic Pride". Manchester: an Architectural History. Manchester University Press. p. 566. ISBN   0-7190-5606-3.
  5. SELNEC Picc-Vic Line, SELNEC PTE, October 1971 publicity brochure
  6. Historic England. "Albert Memorial (387866)". Images of England . Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  7. Wyke, Terry (2005). Public Sculpture of Greater Manchester. Liverpool University Press. ISBN   0-85323-567-8.
  8. The Restoration of Manchester’s Albert Memorial 1977-78: A Report of the Albert Memorial Appeal Committee
  9. Historic England. "James Fraser monument (387868)". Images of England . Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  10. Historic England. "John Bright monument (387867)". Images of England . Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  11. Historic England. "Oliver Heywood monument (387870)". Images of England . Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  12. Historic England. "William Gladstone monument (387869)". Images of England . Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  13. Cocks, Harry; Wyke, Terry (2004). Public Sculpture of Greater Manchester. Public Sculpture of Britain. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. pp. 11–27, 88–92, 111–121, 123–5, 130–2. ISBN   0-85323-567-8.
  14. Historic England. "Abbey National building (387862)". Images of England . Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  15. Historic England. "Albert Chambers (387863)". Images of England . Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  16. Historic England. "Carlton House (387864)". Images of England . Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  17. Historic England. "St Andrew's Chambers (387865)". Images of England . Retrieved 23 April 2015.

Coordinates: 53°28′46″N2°14′42″W / 53.47944°N 2.24500°W / 53.47944; -2.24500