Albert Square, Manchester :: Shared Description

Albert Square is a public square in the centre of Manchester dominated by Manchester Town Hall. 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 this memorial in 186367. 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. 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. 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 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 "processional 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 Albert Memorial which is Grade I listed. It features a marble statue of Albert standing on a plinth and facing west, designed by Matthew Noble (18621867). 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. 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 Four Arts: painting, architecture, music, sculpture
Commerce: the Four Continents
The Four Sciences: chemistry, astronomy, mechanics, mathematics
Agriculture: the Four Seasons

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.

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by Gerald England
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96 images use this description. Preview sample shown below:

SJ8398 : Save the Greenbelt Rally by Gerald England
SJ8398 : A gathering crowd by Bob Harvey
SJ8398 : Gladstone's Statue by N Chadwick
SJ8398 : Preparations in Albert Square by Gerald England
SJ8398 : Statue of Gladstone, Albert Square by N Chadwick
SJ8398 : Town Hall by N Chadwick
SJ8398 : Albert Memorial by N Chadwick
SJ8398 : Bright's Statue by N Chadwick
SJ8398 : Manchester Town Hall refurbishment work. by Gerald England
SJ8398 : Greenpeace Protest Rally by Gerald England
SJ8398 : Manchester Town Hall by N Chadwick
SJ8398 : The Bird and the Bees in Albert Square by Gerald England
SJ8398 : Christmas Market, Albert  Square by N Chadwick
SJ8398 : Fountain, Albert Square by N Chadwick
SJ8398 : Gladstone Statue, Albert Square by N Chadwick
SJ8398 : Manchester Town Hall by N Chadwick
SJ8398 : Albert Chambers by N Chadwick
SJ8398 : Albert Square, Manchester by Gerald England
SJ8398 : Manchester Town Hall by N Chadwick
SJ8398 : Panorama of vigil in Albert Square by Bob Harvey
SJ8398 : Brights Statue by N Chadwick
SJ8398 : Cameras in Albert Square by Gerald England
SJ8398 : Fraser's Statue, Albert Square by N Chadwick
SJ8398 : Chinese New Year celebrated at Albert Square by Bradley Michael
SJ8398 : Albert Square by Gerald England

... and 71 more images.

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Created: Thu, 14 Jun 2012, Updated: Thu, 14 Jun 2012

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2012 Gerald England, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.