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History of Manchester Architecture – Part 1

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The Portico Library, 57 Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3HY

Located on Mosley Street, Manchester, the Portico Library is an in dependent subscription library. Designed by Thomas Harrison of Chester in the Greek revival style, the library was built between 1802 to 1806.

The grade 2 listed property was impaired by a visit to the Athenaeum in Liverpool leaving the four businessmen wanting to set up a similar institute in Manchester.

The library was the first Greek Revival building in the city. It has a rectangular plan and is made from sandstone ashlar. The two-storey building also has a basement and roof space. The Mosely Street façade of the library gas a three-bay pediment loggia with four ionic columns set slightly forward and steps between the columns. Under the loggia are 2 entrance doors and three-square windows at first floor level.

Portico Library
Portico Library

Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square, Manchester, M2 5DB

Manchester Town Hall was designed by architect Alfred Waterhouse and was built in 1877. The building contains offices and grad ceremonials rooms such as the Great Hall.

Alfred Waterhouse faced design challenge because of the Victorian industrial revolution that was happening at the time. Issues such as denial of light, overcrowding, awkward sites, accessibility, and air pollution. Waterhouse chose to use suspended first floor rooms, skylights, extra windows with mosaic marbles to add additional light to dark areas of the Town Hall.

The building was designed in the Victorian Gothic Revival style featuring low rib vault ceilings and tall arched windows. Although the building was styled on aa more medieval style, the inside of the building was very practical. It has gas lighting and a warm-air heating system. The building was also designed to be fireproof by using concrete and wrought iron beams.

Waterhouse chose Yorkshire-quarried Spinkwell stone as he believed it would withstand the harsh Manchester climate after testing many other types of stone. Waterhouse’s design faced criticism due to it not being Gothic enough, but he felt the uniform approach would be better with the pollution.

Manchester Town Hall
Manchester Town Hall

Lloyds Bank Building, 53 King Street, Manchester, M2 4LQ

Designed by architect, Charles Heathcote, 53 King Street is an Edwardian Baroque bank in Manchester.

The Grade 2 listed building is built in an L shape with seven bags on King Street and eight bays facing Cross Street and between them a chamfered corner. Constructed in Portland stone on a granite plinth the bank has a basement, four storeys above and double attics.

53 King Street

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