Styles of the 19th Century

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Manchester, Greek Revival

The public buildings, clubs and institutions of the early 19th century town illustrate the ambitions of the town's middle classes.

Two important examples of the Greek revivalGlossary Term style survive on Mosely Street. The PorticoGlossary Term Newsroom and Library (1802 -6) and the Royal Manchester Institution of 1824-35 (now the City Art GalleryGlossary Term). The legacy of the Greek RevivalGlossary Term is represented by the Branch Bank of England in King Street of 1845, and the Theatre Royal in Peter Street.

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Manchester, Athenaeum (former), Princess Street

But the architecture of the High Victorian decades is dominated by GothicGlossary Term and ItalianateGlossary Term styles. The palazzoGlossary Term style, seen first at the Athenaeum on Princess Street (1836-7), was adopted enthusiastically for commercial buildings, and for one of the city's chief monuments, the Free Trade Hall (1853-6) on Peter Street.

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Manchester, Reform Club (former), King Street

Ruskinian GothicGlossary Term, the other main strand in the architecture of Victorian Manchester, was adopted for some of the city's most prominent buildings including the Reform Club, King Street 1870-1, Memorial Hall, Albert Square, 1863-6, Minshull Street Courts, 1867-73), as well as many lesser buildings. The crowning achievementGlossary Term was the Town Hall (1867-77), a monument to the civic pride and confidence of a city at the height of its powers.

The 1870s and 1880s saw the virtual rebuilding of several city streets. ItalianateGlossary Term and GothicGlossary Term styles continued, seen in the architecture of some of the better local firms such as Clegg & Knowles. The Queen AnneGlossary Term style is seen in the former School Board Offices, by Royle & Bennett 1878, now Elliot House, Deansgate.

Nearby the cast-iron and glass Barton ArcadeGlossary Term (Corbett Raby & Sawyer 1871) is one of the loveliest Victorian shopping arcades in the country, built using ironwork from Macfarlane's Saracen Foundry in Glasgow.

North European RenaissanceGlossary Term styles became more popular from the end of the 1880s, for example the Municipal School of Technology (now the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology on Sackville Street by Spalding & Cross, 1895-1902, while in contrast the superb John Rylands Library, (1890-99)on Deansgate by Basil Champneys is Art-for-Art's-sake GothicGlossary Term, an example of historic style used freely as a medium for individual expression.

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Manchester, John Rylands Library, Exterior
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Manchester, Barton Arcade, Deansgate,



In heraldry, a complete display of armorial bearings.


Series of arches supported by piers or columns (compare colonnade). Blind arcade or arcading: the same applied to the wall surface. Wall arcade: in medieval churches, a blind arcade forming a dado below windows. Also a covered shopping street.


A long room or passage; an upper storey above the aisles of a church, looking through arches to the nave; a balcony or mezzanine overlooking the main interior space of a building; or an external walkway.


The style of the Middle Ages from the later 12th century to the Renaissance, with which it co-existed in certain forms into the 17th century. Characterized in its full development by the pointed arch, the rib-vault and an often skeletal masonry structure for churches, combined with large glazed windows. The term was originally associated with the concept of the barbarian Goths as assailants of classical civilization.

Greek Revival

The conscious revival of Greek classical architecture, as distinct from its later, Roman forms. At its peak in the early 19th century, its origins can be traced to the middle of the century before.


A style of classical secular architecture at its peak in the early to mid-19th century, derived from the palaces of Renaissance Italy, but often varied by asymmetrical elements.


(Italian, palace): used for any compact and ornate building like a large Italian town house, usually classical in style.


A porch with the roof and frequently a pediment supported by a row of columns. Porticoes are described by the number of columns, e.g. distyle (two), tetrastyle (four), hexastyle (six), octostyle (eight). A prostyle portico has columns standing free. A portico in antis has columns on the same plane as the front of the building. Blind portico: the front features of a portico applied to a wall; also called a temple front.

Queen Anne

Not to be confused with the architecture of the reign of Queen Anne (1702-14), this usually refers to a later Victorian style that sought to revive the domestic classical manner of the mid 17th century. It favoured red brick or terracotta, usually combined with white-painted woodwork. It is particularly associated with the architect Richard Norman Shaw (1831-1912) and with the turn away from the Gothic Revival.


The revival of classical architecture that began in 15th-century Italy and spread through Western Europe and the Americas in the following two centuries, finding distinctive forms and interpretations in different states and regions. From c. 1830 the Italian version was revived in Britain as a style in its own right (sometimes called Neo-Renaissance or Italianate), i.e. as distinguished from the native Georgian classical tradition.