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,


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