St Peter's Square, Manchester

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St Peter's Square in January 2018 At Manchester 2018 068.jpg
St Peter's Square in January 2018

St Peter's Square is a public square in Manchester city centre, England. The north of the square is bounded by Princess Street and the south by Peter Street. To the west of the square is Manchester Central Library, Midland Hotel and Manchester Town Hall Extension. The square is home to the Manchester Cenotaph, the Emmeline Pankhurst statue, and St Peter's Square Metrolink tram stop and incorporates the Peace Garden. In 1819, the area around the square was the site of the Peterloo Massacre.

Manchester city centre central business district of the City of Manchester, England

Manchester city centre is the central business district of Manchester, England, within the boundaries of Trinity Way, Great Ancoats Street and Whitworth Street. The City Centre ward had a population of 17,861 at the 2011 census.

Princess Street, Manchester street in Manchester, United Kingdom

Princess Street is one of the main streets in the city centre of Manchester, England. It begins at Cross Street and runs approximately eastwards across Mosley Street, Portland Street and Whitworth Street until the point where it continues as Brook Street and eventually joins the A34.

Manchester Central Library public library in Manchester

Manchester Central Library is the headquarters of the city's library and information service in Manchester, England. Facing St Peter's Square, it was designed by E. Vincent Harris and constructed between 1930 and 1934. The form of the building, a columned portico attached to a rotunda domed structure, is loosely derived from the Pantheon, Rome. At its opening, one critic wrote, "This is the sort of thing which persuades one to believe in the perennial applicability of the Classical canon".


From 2010 to 2017, the square underwent significant redevelopment which entailed the restoration of Central Library and attached Library Walk link, the relocation of the Cenotaph to the rear of Manchester Town Hall, the creation of a new extended tram stop and the construction of two new office blocks to the south of the square; One St Peter's Square and Two St Peter's Square.

One St Peters Square

One St Peter's Square is a high rise office building in Manchester, England. It is situated in St Peter's Square in the city centre.

Two St Peters Square

Two St Peter's Square is a high-rise office building in St. Peter's Square, Manchester, England. Designed by SimpsonHaugh and Partners, the scheme was controversial as it involved the demolition of a 1930s Art Deco but unlisted building.


A map of St Peter's Field and surrounding area on 16 August 1819 Map of Peterloo Massacre.png
A map of St Peter's Field and surrounding area on 16 August 1819

The area around St Peter's Square, then known as St Peter's Field, [1] was the site of the 1819 Peterloo Massacre. The name derives from St Peter's Church which was built in 1788-94 where the gardens are today and also gave its name to Peter Street. The church was built in the neoclassical style by the architect James Wyatt, and was once famous for its church music. It was demolished in 1907 and the Cenotaph replaced it in 1924. A stone cross (1908) commemorates the church. The square is the site for the city's Remembrance Day commemoration each year.

Peterloo Massacre Massacre of protesters in 1819

The Peterloo Massacre took place at St Peter's Field, Manchester, Lancashire, England, on Monday 16 August 1819, when cavalry charged into a crowd of 60,000–80,000 who had gathered to demand the reform of parliamentary representation.

Neoclassicism Western art movements that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome

Neoclassicism is the name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of classical antiquity. Neoclassicism was born largely thanks to the writings of Johann Joachim Winckelmann, at the time of the rediscovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum, but its popularity spread all over Europe as a generation of European art students finished their Grand Tour and returned from Italy to their home countries with newly rediscovered Greco-Roman ideals. The main Neoclassical movement coincided with the 18th-century Age of Enlightenment, and continued into the early 19th century, laterally competing with Romanticism. In architecture, the style continued throughout the 19th, 20th and up to the 21st century.

James Wyatt English architect

James Wyatt was an English architect, a rival of Robert Adam in the neoclassical style and neo-Gothic style.

In the 1930s, the square was redeveloped around the construction of the Central Library and Town Hall Extension (1930–34). Plans for a rapid transit station in St Peter's Square were made in the 1970s; proposals for the abandoned Picc-Vic tunnel envisaged the construction of an underground station to serve both St Peter's and the neighbouring Albert Square. [2] The early proposals for an on-street light rail system in Manchester revived the idea of a station in the square, and the idea was retained as the project evolved, becoming a reality when the Metrolink system opened in 1992.

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.

Picc-Vic tunnel

Picc-Vic was a proposed, and later cancelled, underground railway designed in the early 1970s with the purpose of connecting two major mainline railway termini in Manchester city centre, England. The name Picc-Vic was a contraction of the two station names, Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria. The proposal envisaged the construction of an underground tunnel across Manchester city centre. The scheme was abandoned in 1977 during its proposal stages due to excessive costs, and that the scheme still retained two large and expensive-to-maintain terminal stations in Manchester; other similar sized cities had reduced their terminals to one.

Light rail typically an urban form of public transport using steel-tracked fixed guideways

Light rail, light rail transit (LRT), tram or fast tram is a form of urban rail transit using rolling stock similar to a tram, but operating at a higher capacity, and often on an exclusive right-of-way.


Night view St Peters Square Manchester.jpg
Night view

In 2013, Manchester City Council approved plans for the redevelopment of the square, including the expansion of the Metrolink stop to four platforms. [3] This coincided with the construction of the One and Two St Peter's Square buildings and the refurbishment of Manchester Central Library, both adjacent to the square.

Manchester City Council Local government body in England

Manchester City Council is the local government authority for Manchester, a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. It is composed of 96 councillors, three for each of the 32 electoral wards of Manchester. The council is controlled by the Labour Party and led by Sir Richard Leese. The opposition is formed by the Liberal Democrats and led by former Manchester Withington MP John Leech. Joanne Roney is the chief executive. Many of the council's staff are based at Manchester Town Hall.

The scheme involved using £20 million of public money, [4] moving the Cenotaph, moving the Peace Gardens, demolishing an inter-war building to establish a new office quarter and closing Library Walk to the public. The plans were criticised as bland, unrealistic and private sector orientated rather than public orientated.[ citation needed ]

Manchester Cenotaph World War I memorial

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.

In response to the criticisms Darryl Lee, director of Mosley Street Ventures, said: "The developers have had lengthy and detailed discussions about their proposals with English Heritage and Manchester City Council, who have pronounced themselves happy with the scheme". An English Heritage spokesperson added: "Long before Century House was built, St Peter’s Square was envisaged as a grand civic space, and English Heritage feels that the Simpson scheme, taken with other developments which are under way, goes some way to realising that ambition. While we think that Century House makes a positive contribution to the conservation area, we feel that its loss is outweighed by the public benefits of the scheme." [5]

A statue of Emmeline Pankhurst was unveiled on 14 December 2018 to commemorate 100 years since women were first allowed to vote in United Kingdom general elections. [6]

Monuments and statues

Manchester Cenotaph

This is the work of Sir Edwin Lutyens and has similarities to the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London. It was inaugurated in 1924 and the ceremonies of Remembrance Day have been observed here annually since then. In 2014 the cenotaph was relocated to the north-east end of the square; opposite the Cooper Street entrance to the Town Hall.

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Manchester Piccadilly station railway station in Manchester, England

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Manchester Metrolink light rail and tram system in Greater Manchester, England

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Manchester Victoria station Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3

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Free Trade Hall public hall constructed in 1853–6 on St Peters Fields, the site of the Peterloo Massacre and is now a Radisson hotel

The Free Trade Hall on Peter Street, Manchester, England, was a public hall, constructed in 1853–56 on St Peter’s Fields, the site of the Peterloo Massacre. It is now a Radisson hotel.

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Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive

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Zone 1 (Manchester Metrolink)

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Statue of Emmeline Pankhurst bronze sculpture in St Peters Square, Manchester depicting Emmeline Pankhurst

The statue of Emmeline Pankhurst is a bronze sculpture in St Peter's Square, Manchester, depicting Emmeline Pankhurst, a British political activist and leader of the suffragette movement in the United Kingdom.

Hazel Reeves, MRSS SWA FRSA is a British sculptor based in Sussex, England, who specialises in figure and portrait commissions in bronze. Her work has been shown widely across England and Wales. Public commissions can be found in Carlisle, London and Manchester.


  1. Revived by recent developers as 'Peter's Fields' for the area to the west.
  2. SELNEC PTE (October 1971), SELNEC Picc-Vic Line, SELNEC PTE publicity brochure
  3. Tom Brooks-Pollock (2013-01-18). "Manchester Cenotaph to be moved to make way for new look St. Peter's Square - Manchester Evening News". Retrieved 2014-02-23.
  4. Manchester Evening News (2009-09-14). "Manchester square to be made 'traffic free'".
  5. "Critics hit out at Ian Simpson's St Peter's Square office plans". Architects Journal. 16 May 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
  6. "Suffragette statues mark 100 years of women's first vote". BBC News. 14 December 2018. Retrieved 14 December 2018.

Coordinates: 53°28′40″N2°14′37″W / 53.47778°N 2.24361°W / 53.47778; -2.24361