Rob is an avid traveller and self-professed 'man of the world'. He is passionate about his home city, Manchester, & travelling the world.
Unlike many European cities, the northern England city of Manchester doesn't have a particular style of architecture. However, up until the 20th century, Manchester had a very specific style of architecture—mills, warehouses, and Victorian terraced housing. During the early part of the 20th century, all of this started to change in Manchester when industry declined. After which the Second World War wreaked destruction across the landscape, and then, finally, a devastating IRA bomb in 1996 destroyed part of Manchester's commercial centre.
Manchester Town Hall
Serving as the administrative base for Manchester City Council, the local government organisation that runs the city, the Victorian Manchester Town Hall was designed by renowned architect Alfred Waterhouse and was completed in 1877. This grand gothic structure is a classic example of Victorian architecture and has been copied many times all over England and in former lands of the British Empire. Although difficult to comprehend, during the huge rebuilding programme in Manchester in the years and decades following the second world war, there was actually talk of plans to tear down the building and replace it with something a modern design of the time. Thankfully this never happened and the Town Hall in Manchester can still be enjoyed in all its glory.
Update: As of January 2018, Manchester Town Hall will be closed to the public as it undergoes a major refurbishment programme. The building is due to reopen in 2024.
The Midland Hotel
Arguably the most famous hotel in Manchester, the Midland hotel is the setting in which a certain Mr Charles Stewart Rolls met a Mr Frederick Henry Royce, which led to the formation of the Rolls-Royce motor company. It is alleged that Adolf Hitler, a keen architecture enthusiast, admired the Midland Hotel in Manchester so much that he ordered his men not to drop bombs around the Manchester Town Hall area so as not to damage the fine architecture of the Midland Hotel! The hotel was completed and opened in 1903 following the design of architect Charles Trubshaw, who was very much respected in architects' circles at that time. It was commissioned by the Midland Railway company to serve its line between London and Manchester, the terminus of which is still located around the corner but is now used as one of the UK's leading conference centres. The Midland Hotel building is an excellent example of Edwardian Baroque architecture.
Originally used as a Friary by the Franciscan Monks, Gorton Monastery is now used for corporate events, conferences and community events thanks to a £6 million funding package from English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the European Regional Development Fund. Campaigning for the funding to restore Gorton Monastery was a large arduous process taking almost 12 years from the time the Monastery was closed by the Monks in 1989. In the subsequent years, the building was heavily vandalised by local youths and deteriorated to a significant degree. Although Gorton Monastery is located about a mile outside of Manchester City Centre, in a somewhat deprived area of the City, it has proven to be a key economic booster to Manchester and another piece in the ongoing regeneration story. The Monastery was designed by a local architect in Manchester, Edward Welby Pugin, and was constructed by the Friars themselves who completed the work in 1866.
John Rylands Library
One of many Victorian-era buildings to incorporate gothic influence in architecture in and around Manchester, the John Rylands Library is a dark, imposing and impressive structure. The Library opened to the public in 1900 and since 1972 has been part of the City's largest University, the University of Manchester. As with many of the city's old buildings, the John Rylands Library was in dire need of some TLC and so in 2003 a funding package was agreed and £17 million was spent to bring the Library back to its former glory. The refurbished John Rylands Library re-opened to the public in 2007 and is now one of Manchester's most impressive attractions and one of the finest pieces of classic architecture in Manchester. An article housed in the reading room called the Manchester 'Rylands Library Papyrus P52' is believed to be the oldest original New Testament text in the world.
Manchester Central Library
Not quite as old as the other buildings featured in this article, Manchester Central Library was only completed in 1934. Designed by E.Vincent Harris in a traditional neoclassical style many visitors to Manchester often believe Manchester Central Library to be older than it really is. Inside is a huge common reading and reference library with a huge high domed ceiling. Due to funding limitations the Central Library, Manchester found itself with a significant maintenance backlog which jeopardised its entire future. Thankfully Manchester City Council has funded a huge restoration project that will see Manchester Central Library fit to stand for at least another 80 years as well as being at the forefront of technology and customer services.
The London Road Fire Station Saga
A stunning example of Edwardian Baroque architecture in Manchester in much the same vain as the Manchester Midland Hotel across the other side of the city, the London Road Fire Station was home to the Greater Manchester Fire Service but was also used as an ambulance depot, a bank, a coroners court, and a gas meter testing station. Unfortunately, when the last remaining occupants of the London Road Fire Station, the fire service, left in 1986 the building was locked up and hasn't been reopened since. For almost 30 years this fantastic civic asset was left to rot by its previous owner and was the focus of a fraught legal battle between local campaigners siding with Manchester City Council who sought to bring the building back to life. The building was finally purchased by a developer, Allied London, in 2015 and work began on its restoration and re-use in 2018.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Robert Clarke
Rahul Sharma from Manchester, UK on April 06, 2020:
Manchester is such a beautiful city in UK. I love to visiting this amazing city.