Hamilton Square in Birkenhead, Wirral, England is a town square surrounded by Georgian terraces. No two sides of the square are identical. It was built beginning in 1826 and to the design of Edinburgh architect James Gillespie Graham. It is second only to Trafalgar Square in London for having the most Grade I listed buildings in one place in England.
The land on which the square was developed was purchased in 1824 by Scottish shipbuilder William Laird (1780–1841). He commissioned Gillespie Graham, a leading Edinburgh architect, to lay out a square and surrounding streets, in a similar style to Edinburgh New Town. Gillespie Graham envisaged vistas of long, straight and wide avenues lined by elegant houses. Hamilton Square, named after Laird’s wife’s family, was built piecemeal over the next twenty years as the focus of the regular street layout.
When the square was originally planned, space was made available for the siting of a town hall, work on which did not commence until 1883. Opened in 1887, Birkenhead Town Hall is built of Scottish granite and sandstone from the local quarry at Storeton. It was designed by local architect Charles Ellison. The upper part of the clock tower was rebuilt in 1901 after suffering fire damage. In front of this building, the roadway has been blocked, rendering it impossible for private motor vehicles to circumnavigate the square.
Nearby Hamilton Square railway station opened in 1886. The private gardens within the square were acquired by the local council in 1903 and were subsequently opened to the public. Features of the square include the town's cenotaph in front of the town hall, a large Queen Victoria Monument at the centre of the gardens and a statue of John Laird, the first Member of Parliament for Birkenhead and the son of William Laird. Laird's house, at 63 Hamilton Square, is Grade I listed.
- Architecture: Hamilton Square, Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, archived from the original on 7 November 2007, retrieved 7 July 2010
- Walk 2: The Wonders of Birkenhead (pdf), visitwirral.com, retrieved 1 July 2010
- The Laird Family & Birkenhead, Birkenhead History Society, retrieved 4 October 2007
- Brocklebank, Ralph T. (2003), Birkenhead: An Illustrated History, Breedon Books, ISBN 1-85983-350-0
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