Architecture of Manchester

Architecture of Manchester

This article is about the architecture of Manchester. Manchester has a wide variety of buildings mainly from Victorian architecture through to modern. Much of the architecture in the city harks back to its former days as a global centre for the cotton trade. Many warehouses have now been converted for other uses but the external appearance remains mostly unchanged so the city keeps much of its original character. An interesting facet of the architecture of Manchester and several other cities which underwent a construction boom during the industrial revolution is that inspiration was taken from Venice. Examples of this architecture can be easily found to the south and east of Albert Square and near the 92nd lock of the Bridgewater Canal, near Beetham Tower.

Manchester also has a number of skyscrapers. Most were built during the sixties and seventies. However, in the last few years there has been a renewed interest in building skyscrapers in Manchester. Numerous residential and office blocks are being built or have recently been built in the city centre. Beetham Tower was completed in the Autumn of 2006 and houses a Hilton hotel along with a restaurant and residential properties. It is currently the tallest building in the UK outside of London. However, this status may be short lived, as an even taller building, the Piccadilly Tower, commenced construction at the start of 2008 behind Manchester Piccadilly station. Many more are expected to rise.

Other structures of interest in Manchester include:

Public monuments

Within Manchester there are monuments to numerous people and events that have helped to shape the city and influence the wider community. There are two large squares that hold many of Manchester's public monuments. There is Albert Square in front of the Town Hall which has monuments to Prince Albert, Bishop James Fraser, Oliver Heywood, William Ewart Gladstone and John Bright , and Piccadilly Gardens which has monuments dedicated to Queen Victoria, Robert Peel, James Watt and the Duke of Wellington.

Notable monuments elsewhere in the city include the Alan Turing Memorial situated in Sackville Park, adjacent to Sackville Street, which remembers the father of modern computing. A monument to American President Abraham Lincoln stands in the eponymous Lincoln Square. It is the work of George Gray Barnard and was presented to the city by Mr & Mrs Charles Phelps Taft of Cincinnati, Ohio. The statue marks the part that Lancashire had to play in the cotton famine of 1861–1865 and the American Civil War. Finally, the success of the 2002 Commonwealth Games is commemorated by "B of the Bang", Britain’s tallest sculpture, located near the City of Manchester Stadium in the Eastlands area of the City.

treets and plazas

Manchester has a number of busy squares, plazas and shopping streets. Many of Manchester city centre's streets are now pedestrianised with numerous other streets having Metrolink or Bus priority, thus driving around Manchester City Centre is made complicated.

One of the oldest thoroughfares is Market Street. This was originally called "Market Stede Lane". Much of the medieval street pattern around the original Market Place was cleared as part of 1970s developments. Ancient streets such as Smithy Door were lost forever. One ancient street to survive is Long Millgate, which led north from the old Market Place. This winding lane, crossing Fennel Street and leading on to Todd Street (formerly Toad Lane - thought to be a corruption of T'owd Lane - The Old Lane), is now an attractive and peaceful thoroughfare, bounded by gardens.

Whitworth Street is a broad 19th century route, stretching from Deansgate to London Road, running parallel to the Rochdale Canal for much of its route, and intersecting with Princess Street, Chepstow Street and Albion Street along the way. The street is bounded by impressive brick buildings, formerly warehouses, but now mostly residential developments.

Mosley Street runs roughly parallel to Portland Street, Whitworth Street and Deansgate, leading from Piccadilly Gardens to St Peter's Square. The street is closed to general traffic, with the Metrolink running trams along its route.

Another Victorian addition to the city's street pattern was Corporation Street, which cut through slums to the north of Market Street and provided a direct link from Cross Street (and the newly constructed Albert Square) to the routes north of the city.

To the south-east of the city centre, Wilmslow Road which runs from Oxford Road, is the hub of much student life and is home to Manchester’s curry mile.

Other notable places in Manchester include: Great Northern Square, Lincoln Square, Spring Gardens, Cathedral Gardens, Sackville Gardens, New Cathedral Street, the Gay Village and Chinatown.


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