Manchester Town Hall Extension

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Town Hall Extension
Manchester Town Hall Annexe.jpg
General information
Type Municipal building
Location Manchester, England
Coordinates 53°28′41″N 2°14′42″W / 53.478°N 2.245°W / 53.478; -2.245Coordinates: 53°28′41″N 2°14′42″W / 53.478°N 2.245°W / 53.478; -2.245
Construction started 1934
Completed 1938
Opening 1938
Renovated 2011
Cost £750,000
Owner Manchester City Council
Technical details
Floor count 8
Design and construction
Architect E. Vincent Harris

Manchester Town Hall Extension was built between 1934 and 1938 to provide additional accommodation for local government services. It was built between St Peter's Square and Lloyd Street in Manchester city centre, England.[1] English Heritage designated it a grade II* listed building on 3 October 1974.[2] Its eclectic style was designed to be a link between the ornate Gothic Revival Manchester Town Hall and the Classical architecture of the Central Library.

Architecture[edit]

The Town Hall Extension, housing municipal departments including rates, rents and street cleaning departments, was built after a competition in 1927 was won by E. Vincent Harris who, in the same year, won a competition to build Manchester Central Library on an adjacent site.[1] The building is essentially Gothic in character, with ornately carved tracery and a steeply-pitched roof interpreted in a contemporary style. The building was started after the Central Library was completed and originally had a rates hall, gas and electricity showrooms on the ground floor, a cinema was built at basement level and on the first floor is a council chamber. The building cost which £750,000 was opened by King George VI in 1938, the occasion commemorated by a carved inset stone at the Mount Street end.[3]

The building is linked to Manchester Town Hall by two covered bridges at first floor level over Lloyd Street and has an irregular plan with a concave south side facing the Central Library. Its curved four-storey range with round-headed arches and small windows facing Library Walk is 200 feet in length. The eight-story building has attics and a basement. It was constructed with a steel frame clad in ashlar sandstone from Darley Dale and a steeply-pitched slate roof. The Lloyd Street facade has 29 windows, five of which are set back and its seventh and eighth storeys are set behind a parapet. The 17-window facade to St Peter's Square has small rectangular windows up to the parapet and two-light mullioned windows to the sixth and seventh floors, and its attic dormers have hipped roofs and wooden cross-windows. Along these facades, on the ground floor, is a continuous arcade of plain round-headed openings and a chamfered coping. The upper floors on the Lloyd Street and St Peter's Square facades have a horizontal band over the first floor. The Mount Street facade has five large oriel windows filled with mullion-and-transom windows. The gable ends on Mount Street and St Peter's Square have stair-turrets with round-headed arches containing windows with geometric tracery. Above them are niches with statues.[2] Its stained glass windows representing Lancastrian coats of arms were designed by George Kruger Gray.[3]

Charles Reilly, a contemporary architecture critic, thought the extension was 'dull' and 'drab' while Nikolaus Pevsner considered it was Harris's 'best job'.[1]

Refurbishment[edit]

The refurbished Rates Hall in 2014.

Manchester City Council is restoring and refurbishing the Town Hall Extension to include a public service hub to make its services more accessible. The public entrances on Mount Street and St Peter's Square will be restored to their 1930s appearance and staircases to the lower ground floor will be reinstated to access the Central Library which will be extended into the basement. The rates hall will be restored and accessible to the public. The electricity showroom will become a library with new technology and a café area and the gas showroom will be part of the public service hub.[4]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Hartwell 2002, p. 85
  2. ^ a b English Heritage, "Town Hall Extension Lloyd Street (1197917)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  3. ^ a b History of Manchester Town Hall Extension, Manchester Council, retrieved 18 December 2011 
  4. ^ Extension Refurbishment, Manchester Council, retrieved 17 December 2011 

Bibliography

  • Hartwell, Clare (2002), Manchester, Pevsner Architectural Guides, Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0-300-09666-8