This week’s Photo Challenge set by Frank (author of fab blog “Dutch Goes The Photo”) has set HISTORY.
I’ve just spent a couple of weeks in my beloved Manchester (UK) which is brimming with history – even a little Roman, though this isn’t my personal cuppa tea (sorry Frank!). Whilst here I have been on two guided tours, one of which was of the Town Hall, so I thought I would include a little bit of history gleaned from that.
Manchester Town Hall stands in Albert Square (1st picture), and was designed by Alfred Waterhouse, who was also responsible for The Natural History Museum in London. The Town Hall was officially opened in September 1877.
It backs onto another of Manchester’s well known squares – St Peter’s Square (famous for the Peterloo Massacre of 1819, considered by many as a cornerstone of parliamentary reform.
We have two other buildings in this square worthy of mention. As the eye sweeps across the square from left to right, one sees – The Midland Hotel (built at the tail end of the 19th century), Central Library (opened 1934) and then the Town Hall.
These are all shown below …….
I appreciate that not everyone gets excited by Victorian (and later) architecture, but here comes the interesting bit (well I thought so!!). Manchester was heavily bombed during WW2, but both these squares escaped. Why? Hitler had earmarked the Midland for living quarters and the Town Hall for admin, when he invaded England, which thankfully never happened.
Out of the frying pan into the fire, however, for in 1945, having escaped such a fate, the council proposed razing the Town Hall and environs to the ground to build a new “improved” city. In 1951 a Tory government came into power, and thankfully did what they are best at – made cuts, so the said redesign never happened. (For anyone in the UK, you’ll hopefully appreciate that such cuts did have their advantages then!!) 🙂 🙂